Tag Archives: Charlie Crist

The Rape of Florida Medicaid

The other day, in my post Without a Doctor, I claimed that the Medicare system here in Florida had been raped by the gubernatorial administrations of Jeb Bush and Charlie Crist; thus decimating their effectiveness as originally envisioned.

In the comments section of The VSJ, in ekg’s post They Really Will Stop at Nothing…our sparring partner lilMike, in a reply to me, asked:

Medicaid in Florida is trashed because Republicans have ruined it?

The short answer: YES! ABSOLUTELY!

In 1965, President Johnson signed the law establishing Medicare and Medicaid. The original purpose of the Medicaid program was:

The Medicaid program, authorized under Title XIX of the Social Security Act, was enacted to provide health care services to low-income children deprived of parental support, their caretaker relatives, the elderly, the blind, and individuals with disabilities.

Going way back to the days of Gov. Claude Kirk (whom I had the pleasure to know personally, regardless of his political leanings), Medicaid has been a prime target of Republican Death Squads.

Gov. Bob Martinez (whom I worked under while with the Florida Board of Nursing) cut, sliced, and pared Medicaid at an alarming rate, especially with regards to our elderly.

But it wasn’t until the reign of Jeb Bush (for whom I billed Medicaid and Medicare at a home health agency) that Medicaid in this state went under the greatest change.

One of Jeb’s first actions upon taking office was to kill his predecessor’s, Lawton Chiles (the only Florida governor in recent history to actually care about health care for children, the disabled and the poor) health care initiative for individuals and small businesses, the Florida Health Care Purchasing Alliance.

But that wasn’t Jeb’s first foray into the rape of Medicaid. In 2003:

Governor Bush is proposing to drop health care and long-term care coverage for about 26,000 seniors and people with disabilities, although they would retain prescription drug coverage.  The governor also is proposing steep increases in co-payments for prescription drugs, which likely would make it harder for some poor patients to afford their medications.  The state already implemented modest cuts in the Medicaid eligibility of elderly and disabled people last year.

In 2005, Jeb had the bright idea (not!) to be among the first to follow his brother George’s edict to make state Medicaid coverage over modeling it like (get this!) a health insurance company, complete with limits on coverage:

Gov. Jeb Bush of Florida and Gov. Mark Sanford of South Carolina, both Republicans, have proposed radical changes intended to inject market forces and competition into Medicaid. Under their proposals, the state would give Medicaid recipients a fixed amount of money to buy health care or private insurance.

Under Governor Bush’s proposal, Florida would contribute a fixed amount toward coverage for each Medicaid beneficiary. Patients could use the money to “opt out of Medicaid altogether and purchase health care insurance in the private market,” Mr. Bush said.

(Ironically, today Jeb is on the board of Tenet Healthcare, the same company required to repay the government over 900 million dollars in Medicare and Medicaid overpayments and is plagued by scandal after scandal.)

Even today, Jeb Bush’s failed Medicaid managed care decisions are affecting the State negatively:

”We’ve done the experiment. It has failed,” said Durell Peaden, the Senate’s health care budget chief. “The reports are unsettling. People couldn’t get to specialists, couldn’t get adequate care. And they couldn’t do it cheaply.”

I’m sure Lawton Chiles, the only Florida governor in 40 years to care about it’s citizens, is rolling in his grave right now
The son of Gov. Lawton Chiles said today Gov. Charlie Crist has “betrayed” needy children and old people by raiding a tobacco-funded trust fund for $700 million needed to balance Florida’s budget.

Without a Doctor?

(The following commentary of mine was published in the Daytona Beach News-Journal today.)

There’s been a lot of talk in our state about health care reform, Medicare, Medicaid and so on. There’s one side who believes health care is a right, and another believes government intervention in health care is wrong.

We are seeing the penultimate example of why health care reform is so urgently needed in our country. For six years, I witnessed first-hand the rape of Medicaid and Ryan White funding at the hands of Florida’s Republican governors Jeb Bush and Charlie Crist. What were once viable programs providing health care to people in need became bureaucratic jungles of unpaid claims and unmanageable care based upon rigid guidelines designed not to provide the best health care possible, but to deny payment for health care.

Faced with decreasing payments caused by further cuts to these programs, physicians have been forced to quit seeing patients they care for, thanks to political appointees bogging down the system to “save taxpayers money.”

Ten years ago, this area had five physicians handling HIV patients. Today there are none. Now that Dr. Daniel J. Warner has been booted as “the area’s only certified HIV doctor,” can someone out there explain where the hundreds of patients he’s seen over the years are supposed to go? Many of these patients lack the funds and transportation to go out of our area to see a capable physician. Will they have to see a physician who (most likely) is overwhelmed already? A physician untrained in the complex and ever-changing scope of care these patients need? How does the Health Planning Council of Northeast Florida plan on ensuring proper care for these patients?

Here’s a message to Jim L. Mayo, chairman of the Health Planning Council: Instead of donating money to Republican political candidates and health insurance PACs, how about spearheading real reform to health care by supporting our president? Or will Mayo be content with the knowledge that his actions might very well lead to the death of so many patients?

Stupid Is As Stupid Does

From the “Duh Department”….

For those of you who don’t know, I live in the beautiful state of Florida. Home of our Governor, Charlie Crist, a career politician lacking a political agenda for the State…unless it involves furthering his political career.

For several years now, he’s been flipping back and forth from being a Liberal Republican to a Moderate Republican to a Center-Right Republican to a Right-Wing Republican in his quest to please the Republican hierarchy in our state and nation.

Today, he’s given up on running Florida so he can run for U.S. Senator in a seat (formerly held by Mel Martinez) in what he thought a few months ago was a cakewalk. Hell, he even managed to appoint a Do-Nothing Lackey, one George LeMieux, as a temporary caretaker to the seat in the Senate he so desires in his quest for personal satisfaction, the Presidency.

Yet, Gov. Lisp, as I affectionally call him, has somewhat of a shady past. After a quickie marriage and divorce to a lesbian in the eighties, he’s spent the better part of his career as a “confirmed bachelor”.

Over the years, rumors of his sexuality spread through the Florida government and populace. When I first met Charlie thirteen or so years ago, I was impressed with the fact that one of his “aides” never left his side at functions. A well-dressed, handsome young man. Reports of his dalliances littered the political landscape for years, and his sexuality became “The Worst Kept Secret in Florida”.

Until the day, almost two years ago, when Charlie decided he wanted to be Vice-President. A few overtures to John McCain later, the name of Florida Governor Charlie Crist started showing up on short lists of possible VP nominees.

Unfortunately, Charlie had baggage. A past. So he concocted a whirlwind romance with a handsome divorcee and a quick engagement to her. Then paraded her in front of McCain during a visit to McCain’s compound in July, 2008.

I guess even that didn’t convince McCain or his people, as the chosen VP nominee turned out to be Sarah Palin. But that’s a whole other story!

Which brings us to today…

Charlie’s in a losing battle for the Senate seat he so desperately needs. Losing to an extreme right wing state legislator from South Florida, Marco Rubio. Now Charlie’s in the process of reconfiguring his political stance once again.

So…What does he do? In an astonishing announcement (and another flip flop on a previous stance) regarding the repeal of DADT, the St. Petersburg Times reports:

“We are a nation at war. The governor believes the current policy has worked, and there is no need to make changes,” Crist campaign spokeswoman Amanda Henneberg said.

Yup. Gov. Lisp is telling gays in the military to stay in the closet.

Go figure.


Hurricane Charlie Strikes Again!

Seems like our famously flamboyant Governor (at the moment) Charlie Lisp Crist is at it again!

After apparently having done absolutely nothing for the State of Florida during his reign, Her Majesty can now claim his first accomplishment as Governor before heading off into the sunset better known as the U.S. Senate.

charlieYesiree, folks, Charlie has parted the Atlantic Sea and prevented us from being struck by hurricanes since he took office!

“Dear God, please protect our Florida from storms and other difficulties. Charlie.”

Yup. That’s what Charlie reportedly affirms was written on a note he inserted into Jerusalem’s Wailing Wall in 2007 and instructed others to repeat in the two years since. BTW – I’m glad to See Charlie’s dispatched others to…umm…stick his thing into a crack – seeing as how he’s so busy running the state campaigning for the Senate.

Now if that doesn’t get Charlie back in the good graces of the Religious Right, I don’t know what will.

Things haven’t been going well for Charlie the past six months or so. Especially in his relationship with the extreme right of the Republican Party. Seems they weren’t too pleased when Charlie stood alongside President Obama and declared the stimulus bill a God-Given boost the State needs. Or when a movie came to within a camel’s hair of rightfully outing the Governor. (By the way, Gov. Lisp Crist…just when will the First Beard be moving into the Governor’s Mansion?)

Of course, now Charlie’s running for the Senate, I’m sure he’ll change his mind on the stimulus funds…much like he’s done this week on health care reform. Just the other day he called President Obama’s health care reform “cockamamie” and that “what’s going on in Washington is nuts.”

Hmmm….Looks like the Gov’s got a one track mind lately using those homolicious words…perhaps it’s time for a trip to Fire Island?

Mel Martinez Resigns

Coming off his vote in favor of the appointment of Sonja Sotomayor to the Supreme Court, Florida Republican Senator Mel Martinez has announced his resignation. Although Martinez had previously announced his intention to resign from the Senate, it’s been widely assumed that he would not leave office until the end of his term.

Reports are that Florida Governor, Charlie Crist, could appoint himself to hold Martinez’s seat until the 2010 elections.

From the Orlando Sentinel:

Official word could come later today, but CNN and Politico.com have already reported that Sen. Mel Martinez, an Orlando Republican who planned to retire in 2010, was resigning the office. This means Crist, the leading Republican candidate to fill the open seat, could have to tap someone to serve the remainder of the term.

The appointment can be argued to be a direct slap to the face of Martinez’s fellow Hispanic and announced Senatorial candidate, Marco Rubio (who opposed the appointment of Sotomayor).

What does this mean for the future of the GOP nationwide and in Florida? Considering Crist has been considered the white-headed stepchild of the Republican Party for several months following his support of President Obama’s stimulus package, one would assume a change in tune for the national Republican party towards a more moderate stance.

That, however, is probably not the case. Crist has been shown to waffle ongaycharlie important issues, changing his mind frequently. Additionally, his stance on gay marriage and gay adoption in Florida as well as being potentionally outed by the documentary Outrage, make him far more than the hypocrite he is, particularly considering the rumors regarding his own sexuality, which has been discussed here and nationally before.

I suspect Crist will do whatever the Republican Party tells him to, constituents be damned, in his never-ending quest for the Presidency of the United States.

As far as the State of Florida, Crist will be able to appoint his own predecessor, which may or may not be beneficial to the gubenatorial challenge of State Chief Financial Officer, Alex Sink, in the coming year.

Welcome to Florida!

beachYou have to love this beautiful state I live in. We have gorgeous weather, beautiful beaches, great sports teams…

And the stupidest politicians in the country! And trust me, if you listen to the news lately, that’s a pretty tough pill to swallow.

This week I’d like to announce three Florida winners of the Stupid Person Award.

We have our very own Gov. Crist (I like to refer to him as Gov. Lisp), gaycharlie whose only goal is to go as far in politics as possible, issues be damned.

The same Governor who went over twenty five years as a single man (following a short marriage to a lesbian).

The same Governor who enjoyed a whirlwind romance and married just about the time John McCain and the Republican Party started tossing his name against the Vice Presidential nominee wall to see if it would stick.

The same Governor whose “wife” never moved into the Governor’s Mansion in Tallahassee after a state-paid honeymoon in Europe. And still hasn’t.

The same Governor who, after being dissed by the McCain camp, decided to ignore his constituents and started a campaign for the Senate in 2010.

The same Governor who, nestled securly in his closet,  supported Amendment 2, denying gays the right to marriage in the state.

The same Governor who, two weeks ago, used “Explore Adoption Day” to proclaim the state was “doing the right thing” in denying gays the right to adopt children.


Moving on to our next recepients of the Stupid Person Award.

The co-winners of this week’s Stupid Person award are State Senator Carey Baker, a Republican (duh) from Eustis, and his buddy, State Representative Scott Plakon, of Longwood.

What has Mr. Baker decided to do?

Mr. Baker has decided that the people ofcant-fix-stupid Florida don’t need health care reform of any type.

Together, they have introduced legislation in the form of a Constitutional Amendment in our State Legislature, HR 37, which would nullify any chance for Florida citizens to benefit from health care coverage when President Obama and Congress pass it.

States Mr. Baker’s legislation:

To preserve the freedom of all residents of the state to provide for their own health care:

“A law or rule shall not compel, directly or indirectly, any person, employer, or health care provider to participate in any health care system”

Hello? Mr. Baker? Can you climb out from under that sewer in Eustis and understand something?

There are, count them, over 3.6 million uninsured in Florida.

That’s 20.2% of the state’s 18.1 million people who are without health insurance.

The Elderly.

The Children.

The infirm.

The poor.