Farid Khavari: Making Healthcare Available To Every Floridian Isn’t Just the Right Thing To Do, It’s Good Economics Too


(The following was originally published on Independent Florida gubernatorial candidate Farid Khavari’s website.)

Expanding Medicaid to cover 1.1 million more Floridians will create at least 50,000 jobs, too. Eventually those 50,000 jobs will create 200,000 more.

Florida Gov. Rick Scott and the legislature are bravely sacrificing 6,250 Floridians’ lives this year, and every year, for ideology. This policy is costing us 50,000 jobs, too. Who among us would vote for this?

Scott and the Legislature turned down $51 billion to expand Medicaid to cover 1.1 million more Floridians. The feds will pay 100% of the cost for the first three years, and 90% after that.

But expanding Medicaid to cover 1.1 million people just doesn’t fit the ideology of our governor and legislators—all of whom have very good health insurance coverage, don’t worry about them.

A study in the New England Journal of Medicine reviews mortality data for ten years in three states (NY, ME, AZ) for five years before and five years after expanding Medicaid (1997-2007). This data is compared with that of four states having similar populations which did not expand Medicaid in the same period (PA, NH, NV and NM). In states with Medicaid expansion, the death rate for ages 19-64 declined by 24 per 100,000 of the entire population.

This means that in Florida (19.3 million) an extra 6,250 people per year will meet the reaper, twice as many as died in the 9/11 attacks, and almost as many Americans as have died in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Kudos to Rick Scott and the Florida legislature! Think of the jobs created in our funeral industry! They get double credit on unemployment statistics, because dead people don’t count as unemployed. Obamacare is just so darn terrible that our politicians will bravely sacrifice thousands of lives per year (other people’s lives, of course) to stand up for their “conservative” principles –you know, “pro-life”.

In a surprise bonus result of this policy, Florida businesses will now have to pay up to $253 million per year in tax penalties to the IRS. If their low-paid employees could get coverage by Medicaid, there is no cost to employers. But when employees get health insurance which is subsidized, the penalties kick in.

Is there one person among us, conservative or liberal or Martian, who would vote to kill 6,250 of our fellow citizens every year, and take $253 million out of Florida’s economy to do it? And how about if they knew this was costing us 50,000 jobs, too?

How many of these dangerous lunatics will get re-elected this year? What more do they need to do in order to get us outraged enough to vote them out?

Ironically, our 6,250 neighbors who will die due to lack of medical care will join some 6,000 more who will die from getting too much medical care, thanks to our “best in the world” health care system.

Current Governor Rick Scott is the poster boy for what is wrong with our health care system. He personally made over $300 million as a health care executive—the old-fashioned way, charging sick people insanely high prices. Then his company generated another $1.7 billion in profits to pay the largest fine in history for Medicare fraud. Scott brags that he will spend $100 million to win re-election this year.

The presumptive Democratic candidate for governor, Charlie Crist, doesn’t say much. So far his message seems to be, “I’m not Rick Scott. I’m the other guy with millions in special-interest campaign funds.”

We can’t afford this any longer.

Here is a sample of common sense economics: sending an extra $253 million to Washington every year will reduce economic activity in Florida by over $1.5 billion. That will cost us 15,000 jobs per year. Every job lost will cost another job within a year, and so on. That way we will replace the extra 6,250 who die each year with even more people not covered by Medicaid. On the other hand, taking $5.1 billion per year into Florida to expand Medicaid would create $25 billion in new economic activity per year, which would create 250,000 new jobs in Florida as explained in the previous article “SuperClinics.”

Self-perpetuating human sacrifice is not only bad ideology, it’s bad economics.

As an economist, I know there is plenty wrong with “Obamacare”. It isn’t health care reform, it is health insurance reform. It’s the biggest corporate welfare program since the bank and AIG bailouts and will cost far more. It does very little to reduce health care costs. It will drive insurance prices through the roof and it will pay billions to the insurance companies if they don’t get all the new customers they are supposed to. If it is “socialism” it is corporate socialism.

We can improve health care and reduce costs in Florida, as I have explained in my other articles. It won’t happen overnight. As an interim step, we can use the cash from expanding Medicaid for a few years to build our SuperClinics. It’s better than sacrificing lives for nothing.

It’s one thing to have special interests buy our government and our politicians. Sadly, we’ve gotten used to that. We re-elect almost every incumbent every time. This time they have to go, every last one of them. Unless you think human sacrifice is good government.

I’m the candidate who does not have millions of dollars from special interests. I only serve one special interest group: 19.3 million Floridians.

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