Monday, November 18, 2019

Greg Steube Wants to Expand GI Bill for Post-9/11 Veterans

Greg Steube

A Florida congressman wants to expand how veterans can use their GI Bill benefits.

Last week, U.S. Rep. Greg Steube, R-Fla., unveiled the “Modern GI Bill Act” which “allows veterans who are entitled to Post-9/11 educational assistance through the GI Bill to use eligible funds to repay federal student loans.”

In bringing out the bill, the congressman referenced his personal experience with student loans and serving in the Army.

“When I joined the Army after the attacks on September 11, 2001, I had significant student loan debt from law school, which took me over 15 years to pay off. During my time in the military, I served with many others who had previously received an education and took out loans to pay for it,” said Steube.

“For generations, the GI Bill has offered a pathway to education for our nation’s veterans, but as a new generation of men and women answer the call to service, this bill needs to be modernized to meet their educational and financial needs, which often include student loans,” he added “Servicemembers, like myself, who joined after they obtained their education, cannot take advantage of the GI Bill, so we should give those veterans the same amount of credit toward the student loans they incurred prior to their military service.”

According to the congressman’s office, the bill “includes limitations to control costs, including prohibiting the transfer of benefits, setting a maximum amount to be spent per veteran per year, and setting a time limit on the entitlement.” Steube insisted many veterans would benefit if his bill becomes law.

“Passing this bill will help ease the financial burden facing many of our nation’s veterans. It will also create an incentive for those considering service who have previously incurred student loan debt,” said Steube. “As our nation’s forces modernize, we must modernize the GI Bill to ensure we are keeping up our end of the bargain and giving our veterans the tools, they need to succeed.”

Steube reeled in the support of two Democrats–U.S. Reps. TJ Cox of California and Max Rose of New York–to cosponsor the bill which was sent to the House Veterans Affairs Committee. So far, there is no companion bill over in the U.S. Senate.

 

Reach Kevin Derby at kevin.derby@floridadaily.com.

 

Donna Shalala Introduces Senior Immunization Act

donna shalala

U.S. Rep. Donna Shalala, D-Fla., who served as secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) under President Bill Clinton, has brought out a proposal ending out-of-pocket costs for seniors getting vaccinated under Medicare Part D.

With the backing of U.S. Reps. Larry Bucshon, R-Ind., Ann Kuster, D-NH, and Phil Roe, R-Tenn., Shalala brought out the “Senior Immunization Act” last week.

“The importance of immunizations in managing preventable disease and improving general public health cannot be overstated,” said Shalala. “Too often, seniors wanting to be vaccinated can’t find the information they need or have trouble affording these essential, life-saving treatments. This is a common-sense bill that will help lower obstacles by expanding access to information and making vaccines more affordable for seniors.”

“Through the use of vaccines, modern medicine has enabled us to significantly improve health outcomes by preventing those who receive vaccines from becoming ill – or even dying – after getting a vaccine-preventable disease. However, the complexities of Medicare can be difficult to navigate, and financial barriers can stand in the way of seniors receiving vaccines. The result of seniors not receiving these vaccinations is preventable deaths, potentially significant costs to Medicare to treat a vaccine-preventable illness, and even long-term suffering from the effects of preventable diseases. This legislation helps ensure seniors can have access to affordable vaccines they need to live longer and healthier lives.” said Bucshon.

“As a physician, I know vaccines save lives. Removing cost barriers to vaccines will help ensure America’s seniors are better protected against preventable illnesses. I am proud to join my colleagues in introducing this important bill, and hope it can be signed into law,” said Roe.

“Vaccinations are a critical part of preventive care and seniors should not have to worry about being able to afford the immunizations they need,” said Kuster. “By making vaccinations more affordable for seniors, this legislation will improve the overall health and wellbeing of our communities, reduce health care spending, and save lives. I’m pleased to help introduce this commonsense measure and I will continue working to ensure Americans can access the health care they need.”

The bill “would reconcile Medicare Part D’s coverage of vaccines in terms of deductibles, coinsurance, coverage limits and annual out-of-pocket spending thresholds with those of Medicare Part B” and “update the vaccine information in the ‘Medicare and You’ Handbook as well as authorize a study to determine ways to increase adult vaccine rates.”

The bill was sent to the U.S. Energy and Commerce and the Ways and Means Committees last week. So far, there is no companion bill over in the U.S. Senate.

 

Reach Kevin Derby at kevin.derby@floridadaily.com.

 

Florida Businesses Cautious About 2020 Elections

caution tape

Though the general election is still almost a year away, some Florida business owners are cautious about the “unknowns” of the 2020 election.

“Some of our Florida members do have some concerns about the 2020 elections, not only about who will be the next president but who will control Congress and the Senate,” said Bill Herrle, the executive director of the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) in Florida.

Business surveys taken this year show some companies, including a large segment of manufacturers, have slowed down the process of expansion and have cut back on investments.

“It’s unfortunate, but it’s to be expected especially with the U.S.-China trade war,” said Steve Beaman of the Alliance of Independent Business.

Former state Rep. Lake Ray, now the president of the First Coast Manufacturers Association where he has been since 2011, said, when it comes to the business community and the uncertainty of a presidential election, history shows this is not a new phenomenon.

Ray said back in 2016, surveys of Florida business owners showed they were holding back on expanding and hiring, in part, because of concerns about the election that year. Comparing the growth of Florida manufacturing in recent years, Ray said manufacturers in the Sunshine State have done better under President Donald Trump than they did under then-President Barack Obama. Ray added that manufacturers may hold off on expansion if they think Democrats could win the White House.

But business groups aren’t the only ones eyeing the economics of the 2020 election. Consumers are also keeping a close watch.

Beaman said, in 2016, many Americans held off from buying big-ticket items like cars but, after Trump won, the automobile industry rebounded.

Consumer confidence surveys in Florida and throughout the U.S. show Americans think the economy is on a bit of a roller coaster–and it might get bumpier if a Democrat wins next year.

“It could be like the perfect storm,” Beaman said. “If stock markets numbers drop, consumer confidence drops, business expansion drops. Then it may reveal that Democrats could win in 2020.”

Beaman said the market is setting record highs but mulled over what could happen if the Democrats win next year.

“I don’t think we would be seeing these high numbers,” Beaman said.

Beaman and other financial experts said next summer’s economic numbers will be important in next year’s election.

 

Reach Ed Dean at ed.dean@floridadaily.com.

 

 

Florida Continues to Outpace the Nation on Job Growth, Unemployment

Florida’s economy continues to remain strong as Gov. Ron DeSantis announced on Friday that the state unemployment rate remained 3.2 percent in October while the private-sector job growth rate in the Sunshine State continued to outpace the national average.

“In October, the labor force participation rate has increased for the third consecutive month as Florida’s unemployment rate remains at a low 3.2 percent. Also, businesses created 22,800 new private-sector jobs in October. Florida’s annual private-sector job growth rate of 2.8 percent continues to outpace the national job growth rate of 1.5 percent,” the governor’s office announced. The national unemployment rate stood at 3.6 percent in October.

DeSantis said he would continue to fight to create jobs.

“Florida is the place to be – businesses and communities are growing and thriving,” said  DeSantis. “To make sure we continue this positive trend, my administration will remain committed to policy that encourages opportunity and innovation.”

“Governor DeSantis is dedicated to making the future of Florida’s economy stronger and more diverse than ever,” said Executive Director of the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity Ken Lawson. “The investments we are making in our workforce and communities are paying off as the private sector continues to create jobs at a rate faster than the nation. Floridians should be confident that there are opportunities to grow and thrive.”

The education and health services sector has led the state with 59,800 new jobs over the past year followed by professional and business services with 41,800 new jobs, leisure and hospitality with 40,300 new jobs and construction with 25,300 new jobs.

Monroe County had the state’s lowest unemployment rate at 2 percent in October followed by Okaloosa County at 2.3 percent and St. Johns County and Walton County at 2.4 percent each.

Hendry County had the highest unemployment rate in the state last month at 5.8 percent followed by Hardee County at 5.1 percent, Citrus County and Highlands County at 4.1 percent each and Sumter County at 4.0 percent.

 

House Ethics Committee Investigation Alcee Hastings Over Alleged Relationship With Staffer

Alcee Hastings

A congressman from the Sunshine State is under investigation by the U.S. House Ethics Committee over an alleged relationship with a staffer.

The committee announced on Thursday that it was looking at U.S. Rep. Alcee Hastings, D-Fla., for his relationship with a staffer. Per the House code of conduct, members of the House are not permitted to be in relationships or engage in sexual relations with staffers.

U.S. Rep. Ted Deutch, D-Fla., the chairman of the committee, and U.S. Rep. Kenny Marchant, R-Texas, who leads Republicans on the committee, weighed in on the matter through a joint statement.

“The committee is aware of public allegations arising out of Representative Alcee Hastings’ personal relationship with an individual employed in his congressional office.  On May 14, 2019, the committee, pursuant to Committee Rule 18(a), began an investigation regarding the allegations.  The committee is specifically considering whether Representative Hastings’ relationship with the individual employed in his congressional office is in violation of House Rule XXIII, clause 18(a), and whether Representative Hastings has received any improper gifts, including any forbearance, from that employee.  The committee continues to gather additional information regarding the allegations,” Deutch and Marchant said.

“The committee notes that the mere fact that it is investigating these allegations, and publicly disclosing its review, does not itself indicate that any violation has occurred, or reflect any judgment on behalf of the committee.  No other public comment will be made on this matter except in accordance with committee rules,” they added.

“I have cooperated with the committee since May 14, 2019. As they continue to conduct their work, I stand ready to fully cooperate with their inquiry,” said Hastings.

This is not the first time Hastings has been in trouble over ethics. Convicted and impeachment by Congress for accepting a bribe–becoming only the sixth federal judge in American history to be removed from the bench by Congress–Hastings bounced back to win a House seat in 1992. Since then, Hastings has easily defended his seat in a secure Democratic district. Hastings has handily kept his seat despite the Treasury Department being forced to pay out $220,000 to settle with a former staffer who accused the congressman of sexual harassment and being ranked by Judicial Watch as the number one member of Congress when it came to nepotism.

Still, with longtime U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, R-Fla., retiring last year, Hastings, who was already the co-chairman of the Florida delegation, is now the dean of it. Hastings has also reeled in some major positions in the House. At the start of the year, he was named the vice-chairman of the powerful U.S. House Rules Committee which determines what bills hit the House floor. Hastings also took over the U.S. House Legislative and Budget Process Subcommittee. Back in February U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., tapped Hastings to return as chairman of the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe, better known as the Helsinki Commission. Hastings announced another plum assignment earlier this year when U.S. House Majority Whip James Clyburn, D-SC, the third-ranking Democrat in the chamber, tapped the Florida congressman as a senior whip.

Now 83, Hastings announced earlier this year he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.

 

Reach Kevin Derby at kevin.derby@floridadaily.com.

 

DOJ Investigating Florida Congressman Ross Spano’s Campaign Finance

Ross Spano

The leaders of the U.S. House Ethics Committee, which is chaired by a congressman from the Sunshine State, said another member of the Florida delegation is under investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice.

U.S. Rep. Ted Deutch, D-Fla., the chairman of the committee, and U.S. Rep. Kenny Marchant, R-Texas, who leads Republicans on the committee, issued a joint statement on Thursday about U.S. Rep. Ross Spano, R-Fla., who is under investigation for using loans from friends for his campaign last year as if the money was his own. While a candidate for federal office can use as much of his or her personal wealth as they wish, loans from others are to be treated as contributions from other individuals with a max of $2,700. The committee had been looking at the matter since the Office of Congressional Ethics (OCE) referred them to it back in August.

“The Department of Justice has asked the committee to defer consideration of this matter and the committee, following precedent, unanimously voted to defer consideration of this matter at this time,” Deutch and Marchant said. “Pursuant to Committee Rule 17A(h)(1), the committee is making OCE’s report in this matter public.  Under that rule, when the committee votes to defer in this manner, it must release the report, but not the findings, along with a public statement announcing its deferral.  At least annually, the committee will make a public statement if it continues to defer taking action on the matter.  The committee notes that the mere fact of its decision to defer action on this matter, and any mandatory disclosure of that decision and OCE’s Report, does not itself indicate that any violation has occurred.”

Spano weighed in on Thursday with his office insisting “House Ethics notes that this deferral does not itself indicate that any violation has occurred, or reflect any judgement on behalf of the committee” and the congressman saying he will be cleared.

“Today, the House Committee on Ethics deferred their review of my self-reported filings with the FEC,” Spano said. “We plan to cooperate fully with the Justice Department on this matter. As I’ve said before, we acknowledged that mistakes were made with respect to the campaign loans, but those mistakes were completely inadvertent and unintentional. We were the ones who self-reported this to the FEC. We are confident that upon review, the Justice Department will see it that way, too. I continue to have doubts about the timing and motive behind this inquiry, as the impeachment proceedings this week have shown me how far the left will go to destroy their opponents. I remain committed to the issues that are important to my constituents.”

Florida Democratic Party Chairwoman Terrie Rizzo said it was time for Spano to resign.

“Ross Spano knew what he was doing when he illegally accepted money from his friends. He broke the law to get elected to Congress. Floridians deserve better. Spano should immediately step down from his seat, and if he doesn’t, he can be sure we will send him to an early retirement next year,” Rizzo said on Friday.

First elected to Congress last year after three terms in the Florida House, Spano represents parts of Hillsborough, Lake and Polk Counties. He is expected to be a top target for Democrats in the 2020 election cycle.

 

Reach Kevin Derby at kevin.derby@floridadaily.com.

 

Ron DeSantis Calls for Reforming Bonus Program for Florida Teachers and Principals

On Thursday, Gov. Ron DeSantis called for reforming the bonus program for teachers and principals across the Sunshine State.

DeSantis proposed changing the current “Best and Brightest” bonus program to the “Florida Classroom Teacher and Florida School Principal Bonus Programs,” insisting his plan will “better reward teachers and principals for their hard work and dedication” and he is calling on the Legislature to set aside $300 million for the new program.

“This legislative session and in my forthcoming recommended budget, I am proposing $300 million in teacher and principal bonuses that reward Florida’s educators,” said DeSantis. “We want to make sure we are doing all that we can to recruit and retain great educators throughout the state of Florida. Together, we can advance this and other proposals as we strive to make 2020 the Year of the Teacher.”

The governor’s office the new proposal will be better than the current plan as it will “further to incentivize teachers and principals to remain in public education, especially in schools that face greater challenges.” DeSantis is also calling for a minimum salary of $47,500 for teachers in Florida.

“Florida is extremely fortunate to have educators that inspire students every day, and that is why we have made elevating and celebrating teachers our first priority,” said Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran. “I was honored to stand with Governor DeSantis today as he announced this transformative teacher compensation package. Governor DeSantis has once again proven himself as the Education Governor, with his proposal to increase the minimum salary for teachers across the state and reward educators in schools that need the greatest support. We will not stop working until every Florida student has the opportunity to get a world-class education and become productive, civically-minded members of society.”

According to his office, the governor’s proposal would provide bonuses to classroom teachers and school principals whose schools meet one of the following tier structures:

Tier 1: Schools earn 85 percent or greater of the total possible points or gain 6 or more points in their A-F school grading calculation;

Tier 2: Schools gaining 3 to 5 points in their A-F school grading calculation; or

Tier 3: Schools gaining 1 to 2 points in their A-F school grading calculation.

 

The bonus award amounts for teachers are as follows:

Tier 1: Title I schools will receive a bonus of up to $7,500 and non-Title I schools receive up to $3,700;

Tier 2: Title I schools will receive a bonus of up to $3,500 and non-Title I schools receive up to $1,750; and

Tier 3: Title I schools will receive a bonus of up to $1,000 and non-Title I schools receive up to $500.

 

The bonus award amounts for principals are as follows:

Tier 1: Title I schools will receive a bonus of up to $10,000 and non-Title I schools receive up to $5,000;

Tier 2: Title I schools will receive a bonus of up to $5,000 and non-Title I schools receive up to $2,500; and

Tier 3: Title I schools will receive a bonus of up to $2,500 and non-Title I schools receive up to $1,250.

Florida Congressmen Want to Help Victims of Human Trafficking

On Capitol Hill, the Florida delegation is pushing a bill to help the victims of human trafficking.

This week, U.S. Rep. Alcee Hastings, D-Fla., and U.S. Rep. Ross Spano, R-Fla., teamed up on the “HOPE for Victims of Human Trafficking Act” which “institutes several provisions to protect human trafficking victims in the judicial process.”

The proposal has strong support from the Sunshine State as U.S. Rep. Ted Deutch, D-Fla., U.S. Rep. Mario Díaz-Balart, R-Fla., and U.S. Rep. Michael Waltz, R-Fla., are all behind it.

“Too often, victims of human trafficking are convicted of crimes directly related to being forced into this modern-day slavery. It is hard enough for them to heal from their trauma and rebuild their lives, but to unnecessarily burden them with legal issues and expenses can be overwhelming. This bill would provide hope to those who need it most by helping ensure crimes related to being a victim of trafficking don’t follow them throughout their lives. It is the compassionate approach and the right approach,” said Spano on Thursday.

“My home state of Florida has one of the highest reported cases of human trafficking in the country. To put an end to human trafficking in Florida and across our nation, it is vital that we not only support prevention efforts, but also understand and address the unique challenges that survivors face in the legal system as they try to recover from the trauma of this form of modern-day slavery. I look forward to working with Congressman Spano to pass this important legislation to ensure that survivors of human trafficking are not being set-up for failure as they work so bravely to rebuild their lives,” said Hastings.

Spano’s office offered some of the details of the proposal.

“The bill makes it easier for victims of human trafficking to qualify for the affirmative defense of coercion for certain offenses committed while they were being trafficked. It does so by creating a rebuttable presumption that victims are presumed to have committed such offenses under coercion unless the prosecution proves otherwise,” Spano’s office noted. “The bill also includes a process for sealing the records of those who assert an affirmative defense under this bill, along with a provision stating that failure to assert this defense cannot disqualify them from federal programs that aid trafficking victims.”

The bill has the support of Shared Hope International, Rights4Girls, the National Center on Sexual Exploitation, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, Selah Freedom, Selah Way Foundation and the American Association of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry.

 

Reach Kevin Derby at kevin.derby@floridadaily.com.

 

Marco Rubio Calls on Mike Pompeo to Create Special Envoy to Help End Civil War in South Sudan

marco rubio

This week, from his perch on the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee, U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., called on U.S. Sec. of State Mike Pompeo to provide diplomatic leadership in South Sudan where a civil war has killed as many as 400,000 since 2013.

Rubio joined U.S. Sens. Cory Booker, D-NJ, John Boozman, R-Ark., Chris Coons, D-Del., Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., and Ed Markey, D-Mass., on the letter to Pompeo, calling for a  high-level Special Envoy for South Sudan on the heels of a 100-day extension of the November 12 deadline to form a transitional government, with no indication that the country’s warring parties are close to agreement on pivotal areas of dispute.

“With the deadline looming, there is growing concern about a return to large-scale violence,” Rubio’s office noted.  “South Sudan’s civil war has devastated the country, and the U.N Commission on Human Rights in South Sudan suggests that ethnic cleansing has occurred. The civil war has created the largest refugee crisis in Africa with almost two million internally displaced and over two million having fled the country. This year, the fighting has left more than 20,000 South Sudanese on the brink of starvation and six million people, more than half of the population, severely food-insecure. Forces on both sides of the conflict have committed horrific and widespread sexual violence. War in South Sudan also risks exacerbating recent Ebola outbreaks, which have infected over 3,000 in neighboring countries like the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Uganda.

“An increased U.S. diplomatic presence is necessary to sustain the country’s ceasefire, aid in negotiations to resolve fundamental issues in the conflict, and support efforts to sanction entities that continue to profit from the conflict, the lawmakers argued. Forming a government without agreement on security arrangements and boundaries would threaten the new government’s viability and risk extending the conflict in perpetuity,” Rubio’s office added.

The full text of the letter is below.

Dear Secretary Pompeo:

On November 7, 2019, South Sudan’s rival parties led by President Salva Kiir and Riek Machar agreed to extend the November 12th deadline to form a unified transitional government by an additional 100 days. This marks the second extension of the pre-transitional period agreed to under the September 2018 revitalized peace agreement. While we support the need for additional dialogue to resolve the outstanding political and security issues necessary to create a viable transitional government, we share deep frustration with the lack of progress made thus far. The people of South Sudan continue to suffer, despite the over $4.5 billion in U.S. humanitarian aid provided since the conflict began. Perpetual delays in the peace process cannot continue. We therefore, ask you to utilize this opportunity and appoint a high-level Special Envoy for South Sudan in order to bring urgently needed diplomatic leadership to international efforts to mediate the ongoing political conflict and stop the humanitarian crisis in the world’s newest country from deteriorating further.

Since the war erupted in December 2013, as many as 400,000 South Sudanese citizens have been killed, almost two million have been internally displaced, and over two million have fled the country. This year, the fighting left over 6 million people, more than half the population, severely food insecure and in dire need of humanitarian assistance during peak lean season with over 20,000 South Sudanese on the brink of starvation. In April, the United Nations Panel of Experts on South Sudan reported to the United Nations Security Council that it identified ongoing obstruction of humanitarian access and violations and abuses of human rights, including “alarming and persistent levels of sexual violence abetted by impunity.”

Reported threats from South Sudan’s leadership to unilaterally form a government raise serious concerns. A new government formed without consensus on security arrangements and state boundaries—two principle areas of dispute—is highly unlikely to have the support of all the signatories of the revitalized peace agreement, and could trigger a return to large-scale violence, undermining the fragile stability we see today. Renewed fighting and mass displacement would not only threaten the future of South Sudan, but would also threaten the nascent political transitions underway in Sudan and Ethiopia, which already host more than 850,000 and 420,000 South Sudanese refugees, respectively. Moreover, a surge in violence in South Sudan would further weaken the country’s Ebola preparedness efforts and undermine a coordinated response if the virus—which has infected more than 3,000 in neighboring Democratic Republic of the Congo and four in neighboring Uganda—were it to reach South Sudan.

A Special Envoy is needed to engage the region and help coordinate Western partners in pressing both parties to forge a viable path forward over the next three months and beyond. We support recent efforts taken by the U.S. Department of the Treasury to sanction South Sudanese elites and corrupt government officials that have profited from the ongoing conflict, and believe that a Special Envoy could provide needed assistance in advancing these efforts through authorities granted under the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act or Executive Order 13664. This Envoy should also be charged with implementing a robust diplomatic strategy in coordination with like-minded international partners to prevent renewed violence, encourage a sustainable political settlement, and facilitate the accountability of human rights abuses and corruption in South Sudan.

The United States has been very generous in addressing the myriad of needs in South Sudan and we acknowledge the important role that the U.S. assistance has played in saving lives.  More focused, diplomatic leadership to address the underlying drivers of the conflict can help provide accountability to the American taxpayers and ensure that U.S. assistance is as effective as possible.

We appreciate your attention to this matter.

 

Rick Scott Takes Aim at Healthcare Prices

Rick Scott

Insisting costs are too high, U.S. Sen. Rick Scott, R-Fla., is again taking on the healthcare industry.

This week, Scott and the Heritage Foundation released an online video with a simple message: healthcare costs too much. In the video, Scott insisted drugs, doctors, hospitals and MRIs all cost too much, and then asking Genevieve Wood, a senior advisor at the Heritage Foundation, to explain why.

“That’s largely because of regulatory overkill from Washington DC that imposed transactional costs on doctors and other medical professionals including compliance and reporting requirements that add to administrative cost. This all adds to the cost of care delivery,” Wood said.

Scott has proposed a series of changes to the healthcare industry. He wants to prohibit drug companies from using federal tax dollars to develop their drugs. He and U.S. Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., have introduced a proposal preventing those companies from charging American consumers unreasonable prices for drugs developed with federal funds. Scott also wants those same pharmaceutical companies to charge Americans the same amount for prescription drugs that consumers pay in other wealthy countries.

“American consumers are subsidizing the low-cost drugs in Canada, Europe and Japan. That’s crazy and it needs to end,” Scott notes on his website.

Scott is also targeting drug companies in the same way he went after hospitals in Florida. The senator wants to require drug companies to create a consumer-friendly database of drug prices where users would be able to compare drug prices. So far, these proposals have gone nowhere on Capitol Hill.

The Republican senators also took a shot at the Democrats over healthcare, something he has consistently done since his first campaign for governor back in 2010.  Scott took Democrats to task for continuing to support Obamacare.

“Under Barack Obama, when he ran in 2008, he promised ‘oh gosh, if Obamacare was passed, every family was going to save $2500’ (and nobody would lose their doctor by the way). Did either of these two things happen? Nope, you lost your doctor, and healthcare costs skyrocketed,” Scott said.

Scott claims 4.7 million people lost their doctors in 2014. Now he’s calling out 14 Democrats in the U.S. Senate who want to pass the “Medicare for All” plan being championed by the left. The Florida Republican said it will “ruin healthcare for everybody.”

“They will not tell you that they want to take away all of your employer-sponsored insurance. The biggest number of people by a large margin, 150 million people plus, we all get our insurance based on our employer,” said Scott.

Scott refused to expand Medicaid in Florida while he was governor, denying taxpayer-funded insurance to 800,000 Floridians. Under the expansion, the state would have paid 10 percent of the cost for most of the duration of his term as governor. Had Scott backed Medicaid expansion, the state would be responsible for the full cost of the Medicaid premiums beginning next year.

 

Reach Mike Synan at mike.synan@floridadaily.com.