Florida lawmakers have made it abundantly clear they have no interest protecting women’s rights.
After signing a bill into law last month that restricts Medicaid users in Florida, Gov. Rick Scott is finally facing repercussions for attempting to limit healthcare options for women across the state.
Federal officials reprimanded Scott and the Florida Legislature this week and made it clear they could not ban spending Medicaid money for women’s health services at establishments that also perform abortions.
This announcement threw a wrench in Scott’s long feud against Planned Parenthood. But rather than accept defeat, Republican lawmakers are suggesting they apply for a federal waiver, despite the fact no such exemption has ever existed.
Vikki Wachino, the director of the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, has had to reach out to several tantrum-throwing states and explain they would violate federal law by banning Medicaid funding for women’s health services just because the clinic also performs elective abortions.
Medicaid does not cover elective abortions, so to ban covering cancer screenings, physical exams, birth control and other crucial health services is detrimental to women’s well-being.
Florida needs to realize most women going to clinics such as Planned Parenthood go because it offers health care services they otherwise would not be able to afford, not because they seek abortions.
We get it. Scott is as pro-life as anyone could possibly be. Not only did he launch a ridiculous investigation against Planned Parenthood clinics that failed to find any wrongdoing, but he is now making it his mission to take away health care for women across the state.
Maybe Scott will rethink his position when thousands of women suddenly no longer get annual checkups or mammograms and take drastic measures to avoid pregnancy because birth control is not available to them.
The extremist legislation takes effect on July 1. Washington will hopefully refuse to grant Florida a waiver that would attack the constitutional rights of many of its citizens.
If it does go through, “The ban on Medicaid funding could have cost providers as much as $500,000 and forced some to close,” according to the Tampa Bay Times.
Under Scott, education has faced serious blows, environment protection policies have nosedived and the number of HIV/AIDS cases has increased, leading to major support from the federal government.
Instead of taking away healthcare for thousands of women across the state, Scott should focus his efforts on handling the many issues he’s spent the last several years ignoring.
Rather than desperately searching for loopholes to get around nationwide laws, Scott needs to let go of his vendetta and focus on the problems that really matter. Florida’s education system alone could use a major upheaval, and it’s just the start of a growing list of issues our state desperately needs to address.