Krauthhammer Discusses Medicaid Expansion: Conservative Governors “Can Act Honorably Either Way”

Posted: Feb 22, 2013 7:45 AM

Florida Governor Rick Scott was one of Obamacare’s earliest and most vociferous critics -- one of many reasons why conservatives are up in arms now that the Sunshine State will accept federal funds to expand its Medicaid program. In some ways, conservatives are justifiably apoplectic, but as Charles Krauthammer explained on ‘Special Report’ last night, the situation in Florida is more nuanced than meets the eye (h/t NRO):

“You can act honorably either way. You can oppose [Obamacare and] then say you lost the fight. It’s the law of the land. It passed through Congress and got the signature of the president. It was approved by the Supreme Court. And, when the president ran for reelection against somebody who would abolish it, the president wins … [I] think it’s honorable to say ‘I will take the money because people in my state are paying federal taxes, are subsidizing people in other states,’ or you could argue it the other way and say ‘I still want to keep up the fight and that if enough states stay out, it’ll collapse.’”

Let’s face it: Obamacare isn’t going anywhere -- at least anytime soon. Voters had an opportunity last November to elect a compelling candidate who promised to repeal the president’s health care law in full. They declined. Now, it seems, Governor Scott is merely adhering to one of President Kennedy’s old injunctions: Deal with the world as it is, not as you might want it to be. This reasoning is: Why should Governor Scott deny his constituents access to affordable health insurance -- especially now that Obamacare is likely on the books forever and the federal government will foot the bill one hundred percent?

On the other hand, Florida (and Scott himself) led the charge to repeal Obamacare in state and federal court immediately after it was signed into law. But apparently standing on principle now doesn’t seem as important to Scott anymore (even though he spent millions of dollars out of his own pocket to help overturn the law). Meanwhile, scores of other states with conservative chief executives have refused to participate in the program, including Louisiana, Texas, and Wisconsin, among others. Question: Despite Governor Scott’s heretofore impeccable conservative bona fides, is it really that hard to believe he would capitulate and reverse his position on the Medicaid expansion program now that he’s up for re-election in a purplish state with a notably high elderly voting population? Hmm.