Ringside Seat: One Small Step for Florida

Two years after spearheading the lawsuit against the Affordable Care Act and just a few months after affirming his opposition to expanding Medicaid coverage in his state, Florida governor Rick Scott has shifted gears and indeed decided to accept federal funds to expand Medicaid. In a press conference late this afternoon, he explained his reasoning: “While the federal government is committed to pay 100 percent of the cost of new people in Medicaid, I cannot, in good conscience, deny the uninsured access to care.”

This, it suffices to say, is a huge gain for the law. As a prominent opponent from one of the country’s largest states, Scott's reversal has weakened efforts to maintain a united front against implementing the Affordable Care Act.

It is also a big gain for human welfare. With nearly 4 million people who lack health insurance, Florida has the second-highest rate of uninsured in the country. Part of that is because the state—under its Tea Party leadership—has become remarkably stingy with public assistance. “Today,” writes Stephanie Mencimer for Mother Jones, "a single parent with two children can’t qualify for Medicaid in Florida if she makes more than $3,200 a year—one of the nation’s lowest eligibility levels." As The Washington Post’s Sarah Kliff notes on Twitter, Governor Scott has singlehandedly added 1.3 million people to the Obamacare coverage expansion by agreeing to the federal government’s terms on Medicaid. This probably won’t help Scott’s popularity—he’s one of the most disliked governors in the country—but it will go a long way towards making Florida a more hospitable place for low-income people.


So They Say

"In many ways, the greatest challenge to America’s foreign policy today is in the hands not of diplomats, but of policymakers in Congress. My credibility as a diplomat working to help other countries create order is strongest when America at last puts its own fiscal house in order—and that has to be now."

John Kerry


Daily Meme: Crazy and Balanced

  • The election is over! It's a new year, with new political issues, and now, a new Fox News! The network is cleaning out its closet and getting rid of the clothes it wore in high school that don't fit anymore, like Dick Morris ...
  • ... and getting new unpredictable comedians pundits to fill up the 24/7 truth center.
  • Like Herman Cain! We're basically imagining (hoping) his Fox News appearances will look exactly like this
  • Or that he'll at least channel Thomas Whitmore on a regular basis
  • If nothing else, he can replace Glenn Beck as the channel's man of metaphors, bringing his whole gang of chickens, rabbits, and sickly goldfish along for the ride.
  • Or at least he can be their trusted voice on Middle Eastern politics
  • Also on Fox News's new docket, Scott Brown! We hope that he is coming on as their new tech correspondent
  • Or fashion reporter
  • Dennis Kucinich was also hired as a new contributor, but whether Fox News brought him on in the interest of being fair and balanced—and not something ... less pure—remains to be seen.
  • He's already providing a lone liberal voice on the sequester on Fox News's website.
  • All in all, it's an unpredictable bunch. We're waiting for the day when Shep Smith dishes on his new co-workers.

What We're Writing

  • For too much of the right and left in America, dissenting opinions on the Israeli-Palestinian situation are unacceptable. Jaclyn Friedman knows that we can't move the issue forward until we can talk about it without fear.
  • Everyone knows that Chuck Hagel was publicly endorsed by the Iranians for Secretary of Defense. Except, as Matt Duss will tell you, he wasn't, he never has been, and he's exactly the kind of guy that Iran doesn't want.

What We're Reading

  • The Supreme Court is all set to hear a case on campaign-contribution limits. We're careening toward plutocracy, and so far the Citizens court has only been interested in speeding us up. But, you know, maybe they'll do the right thing on this one.
  • John McCain has taken a short break from frothing at the mouth over Chuck Hagel and gotten back to the same immigration reforms he was proposing in 2007. 
  • Politico and half the White House Press Corps was up in arms about their lack of access to the president yesterday. The Nation takes a look at why that's dumb.
  • Many Church observers been hoping for an African Pope, and there's a front runner from Ghana. Only problem? He says homosexual priests were the root cause of the pedophilia scandals.
  • MSNBC just picked up David Axelrod and Robert Gibbs in what seems like an attempt to shore up pro-administration credentials that have long replaced their journalistic or even liberal ones. Glenn Greenwald explains why news that's unconditionally in favor of the people in power is worse than stuff that's just partisan.

Poll of the Day

Gallup just got through with its annual survey of American opinion on foreign policy, and the results are predictable. Most of us—88 percent—rank the fight against terrorism as a very important goal, with preventing the spread of nuclear weapons and securing adequate energy supplies running a close second and third. Cooperation and coordination ranked lower:  Working with the U.N. scored a 58 percent and promoting economic development overseas only pulled 31. The survey didn't ask whether anyone saw the obvious connections between development and terrorism.

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