Florida businesses casting blame on legislative leaders for the effects of opposing Medicaid’s expansion is akin to yelling at the attending waitress for slow service after she noticed your steak was overcooked and tried to do something about it.
The real villain causing the Medicaid dilemma is the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and the job-killing, anti-business mandates and fees contained therein. Having recognized the problem early on, groups like the National Federation of Independent Business were right to fight alongside The James Madison Institute and others to oppose this bad law in Congress and the courts.
Now, certain Florida employers are complaining because they can’t dump the health-insurance costs of their full-time employees onto the taxpayers via the Medicaid program. They want Florida to expand eligibility to cover full-time employees whom they pay so little that they’d qualify for Medicaid if only the income limit were raised to 138 percent of federal poverty line.
Sure, expanding Medicaid would spare these businesses the penalties the law imposes on employers; however, Medicaid expansion also costs the taxpayers — initially the federal taxpayers, including Floridians. Later more of the costs would be dumped on Florida’s taxpayers, pulling from other critical state budget areas.
Usually when the businesses want to “feed at the public trough” by shifting costs from themselves to taxpayers, progressives denounce it as “corporate welfare.” When it involves the consequences of an ill-conceived program that originated in the Obama White House, however, these same pundits are strangely silent.
Similarly silent are those pundits who usually praise elected officials when those in office are purportedly looking beyond the next election and watching out for the next generation. That’s what Florida Speaker Will Weatherford is doing by opposing a costly expansion of this flawed program. For that he and others deserve praise, not blame.
Dr. J. Robert McClure, President/CEO, The James Madison Institute Tallahassee