The divide between Florida House Republicans and the Republican governor on expanding Medicaid is considerable. Both say why they are for or against the idea, but neither address the real issue.
Gov. Rick Scott said he supported expanding Medicaid for three years while the federal government funds 100 percent of the cost. He said it was "common sense" and "compassionate."
House Republicans say it will set the state up for a fall when the federal government cuts funding to 90 percent after three years.
They also believe that the state will be stuck with even more if the feds can't come up with the money due to sequestration.
What no one seems to mention, though, is that by not insuring people, does that make their health better or cheaper? Of course it doesn't, and we all pay for it one way or the other.
As decent human beings, we don't leave people to die on the street regardless of whether they have insurance. Hospitals treat them and don't get paid. Hospitals get some grants and donations to offset these costs, but it's certainly not free. The rest of us pay for this through increased billing and insurance costs. So what that means is that free health care is not free at all.
Expanding Medicaid shouldn't be an issue. By providing folks with basic health care, it is hoped that they won't have to seek basic treatment in emergency rooms, where costs are much more expensive, and people can be seen by a doctor before it turns into something much more expensive.
The cost of health care is going to be there no matter what. All legislators are doing is trying to push the cost somewhere else, almost playing a shell game.
The fact is that millions of Florida's most vulnerable and needy people do not have any form of health care. If there's anywhere the state has a responsibility to its people, it's in this area. The money is there and they need to make it happen. We'll pay either way, but this is the best option we have at this time.