Florida’s anti-Obamacare governor and his tea party allies in the Legislature pay less for state-funded health insurance than janitors, cops, or teachers.
Last year, political neophyte Rick Scott spent $73 million of his own money to bring the tea party’s anti-government, pro-privatization agenda to the Florida governor’s office. Today, the former executive pays just $30 a month for health care—and lets taxpayers cover the rest.
The governor, a proud bearer of the Republican Party’s deregulation standard, has spent his first half-year in office decrying government waste: He’s laid off thousands of Sunshine State employees, slashed their benefits, turned down (most of) the federal government’s health care dollars, and put extra financial pressure on Florida retirees and Medicaid recipients. But Scott and his dependents pay one-fifth what a janitor in the state Capitol pays for health insurance…and less than 3 percent of what a retired state trooper pays for life-saving coverage.
When asked about the double standard, a spokesman for Scott declined to comment, calling his family’s cheap state coverage “private matters.”
But the matter has huge implications for citizens of the state. Scott sits atop an upside-down benefits system that heavily subsidizes health care costs for the best-off state employees while forcing loyal rank-and-file workers to spend more of their shrinking paychecks for basic coverage. According to Gary Fineout, the longtime Tallahassee reporter who broke the story:
Scott is among nearly 32,000 people in state government who pay relatively low health insurance premiums. It’s a perk that is available to high-ranking state officials, including those in top management at all state agencies. Nearly all 160 state legislators are also enrolled in the program that costs just $8.34 a month for individual coverage and $30 a month for family coverage.
So who pays to give Scott and his cronies their cut-rate coverage? Taxpayers do. It’s not clear how many of the state’s 32,000 top-ranking VIPs cover themselves, and how many get their entire families on the state plan. Depending on that breakdown, Floridians are paying between $1.3 and $4.8 million every month to extend this perk to their political elites. That could amount to as much as $57.6 million a year—12 times what the state spent on public broadcasting before Scott decided to defund the radio and TV stations, calling them “a special interest.”
- FL Gov. Rick Scott Simply Refuses To Take Money For The Affordable Care Act (crooksandliars.com)
- Wendell Potter: “Obamacare” Hater Rick Scott, Now Florida’s Governor, Is Doing Exactly What He Claimed, Falsely, Federal Reform Would Do (huffingtonpost.com)
- Florida Gov. Rick Scott Hosts Anti-Abortion Law Celebration (kaystreet.wordpress.com)
- Gov. Scott getting low-cost health insurance from the state of Florida! (tomhuff.wordpress.com)
- Rick Scott Mocks Jobless (theawl.com)
- More Political Dirtbaggery: The Hypocritical Republican (zwingliusredivivus.wordpress.com)
- Two CNN Anchors Try, But Fail, To Get Florida Governor Rick Scott To Answer Their Question (mediaite.com)
- Florida Guv Denies Health Care to Millions (annarborlaw.org)
- Rick Scott, what hath thou wrought? (blogs.jta.org)