To the editor:
Why did our state representatives vote against the Republican Florida Senate Plan to bring 1,000 new jobs and $40 million per year in revenue to Cape Coral?
The Republican Senate Plan would have transferred a federal giveaway program to state control for privatization, Lowered costs to consumers and created private industry jobs. All of the elements a conservative could ask for. Why did our State House representatives voted against it?
The root of the problem is the 1.2 million uninsured adults in Florida who go to our emergency rooms and don't pay the bills. Most of these adults WORK at low-paying jobs but do not qualify for "Obama Care" and don't have disabilities to qualify for Medicaid. They can't afford to seek medical attention from primary care doctors when they become ill and wait until the problem requires an emergency room and hospitalization. This causes their illnesses to be much more expensive than necessary, which increases in our private insurance and Medicare premiums. Note: The percentage of families in Cape Coral with incomes below the poverty level doubled from 2000 to 2010 according to the census reports.
In the past, the federal government created a bureaucracy to pay the hospitals millions of dollars to cover a portion of the cost for the uninsured. The rest of the cost was passed on to the taxpayers with higher private insurance and Medicare premiums.
Last year the State of Florida was offered the chance to take over the federal program and given the flexibility to create a conservative solution. The Florida Senate Plan (Republican) did just that, but the Florida House and our local Representatives voted it down. Without any Florida plan, the Federal program to pay for the uninsured was ended last year causing a loss of about $140 Million per year in Lee County and $40 Million per year in Cape Coral. This would not have happened with Florida Senate Plan to expand Medicaid with private insurance.
Here is what we could have had with the Republican Senate Plan:
1. Private insurance companies would provide low cost insurance to the 1.2 million working low income people with affordable premiums around $25 per month. (Privatized Medicaid)
2. The newly insured would use Primary Care Doctors instead of the emergency rooms and not wait until their illnesses required hospitalization. This would cut the overall cost.
3. Cape Coral would re-gain the lost $40 million and the newly insured would use Primary Care Doctors and services Creating an estimated 1,000 new medical jobs in Cape Coral (4,000 total new jobs in Lee County). Instead we are seeing cutbacks and layoffs in our medical business sector.
4. The federal program would become a state controlled program administered by private businesses.
5. Our own private insurance and Medicare premiums would not keep increasing to pay for the uninsured.
The only excuses our current representatives gave were framed in political rhetoric about not trusting the federal government or that it was somehow the evil "Obama Care Medicaid Expansion". Their decision is costing Cape Coral and SW Florida millions of dollars, thousands of new jobs as well as layoffs and cutbacks in the medical community.
Obviously, the Florida House voted the Republican Senate plan down for political reasons. There is no reason to harm the Cape Coral economy, not accept 1,000 new jobs, lower our premiums and get rid of a federal bureaucracy that paid for uninsured.
When our representatives vote for political reasons instead of what is best for their constituents it is time for a change.