Scott wrong to reject federal health care dollars

His approval numbers are low and still dropping.

New poll numbers that came out at the end of May from Quinnipiac found that only 29 percent of state citizens approve of the job Gov. Rick Scott is doing. An astonishing 57 percent disapprove. Still, his numbers will likely continue to drop because Scott is always finding more ways to anger the people who voted him into office. His reaction to evidence that the state collectively hates the job he’s doing was flippant at best.

“My job is not to become the most popular,” he said when asked about the poll at a press conference.

This year, Scott has rejected $19 million in health law money that would directly benefit Florida voters, according to the St. Petersburg Times. The Republican-led Legislature has blocked other federal health funds as well. Scott’s decision to contest the federal health care law in court in not unprecedented — 25 other states are doing the same under Florida’s leadership.

His decision not to accept federal health care funding and move forward with the law’s implementation, on the other hand, sets Florida apart from the others. His decision to reject federal dollars, part of which came from Florida citizens through taxes, is appalling.

Every other state in the union has begun preparations for the implementation of the so-called “Obamacare.” Not even Texas’ gun-toting, union-seceding conservative Super Gov. Rick Perry has gone as far as to reject federal health care money. In fact, his state has accepted $276 million for a senior health care program, according to the Times.

The rejected money includes $2 million for children’s hospice care, $8 million for clinic construction and $1 million to help citizens monitor insurance rates. He’s also stopped all state preparations for health care exchanges that the federal law mandates.

Even while he moves to block as many elements of Obamacare as possible, Florida citizens are already enjoying the benefits that don’t require state intervention, such as the provision helping those with pre-existing conditions get insurance coverage.

Scott’s move to ignore the new health law is irresponsible, and some would argue unconstitutional, according to the Supremacy Clause of the U.S. Constitution. If, say, the Supreme Court upholds Obamacare, Florida will be far, far behind every other state in its implementation. Scott’s decision to let the state fall behind will hurt Florida’s economy and, more importantly, its citizens.

Vincent DeFrancesco is a senior majoring in mass communications.