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Florida Speaker Weatherford’s Homeschool Blinders to the Poor and Uninsured

| March 25, 2013

Florida Speaker Will Weatherford, pounding. (Florida House)

Florida Speaker Will Weatherford, pounding. (Florida House)

By Rhonda Swan

House Speaker Will Weatherford said he wonders what America would be like if his mother, who home schooled him, had home schooled President Obama.

That’s easy. We’d still be waiting for our first African American president.

The Wesley Chapel Republican assumes the president would share his conservative politics had he shared his education.

No disrespect to Weatherford’s mom, but if Obama shared her son’s values, he wouldn’t have won the White House.

Just ask John McCain or Mitt Romney.

What Weatherford needs to be wondering is what Florida will be like if its 4 million uninsured citizens continue to go without health coverage.

The House and Senate have rejected expanding Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act and are trying to come up with alternatives that would cover the nearly 1 million Floridians who would qualify.

Weatherford used the rejection to score points last week at the Conservative Political Action Conference where he spoke as one of CPAC’s “10 Rising Stars Under 40.”

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“States are being lured, and I would argue coerced, into expanding programs like Medicaid and passing regulations not through federal mandate but with a promise of free money,” he said. “They’re trying to buy us off, one by one but I am not buying it. Florida will not buy it and America should not buy it.”

You’d think the feds were trying to give Florida a used car instead of offering the state an estimated $51 billion over the next decade to provide its residents with health care.

“We will stand up to their inflexible plan,” Weatherford said, “and we’ll work on our own solution, one that better reflects the needs and priorities of our state.”

Florida’s uninsured millions didn’t just move here yesterday. They’ve been here for years, ignored by the Legislature. It wasn’t until the Supreme Court upheld Obamacare and Romney, who promised to repeal the law, lost the election that Weatherford and his colleagues in Tallahassee were forced to take notice.

Even now, the needs of the uninsured are not a priority.

Weatherford told CPAC attendees that denying Medicaid expansion is one way that Florida is building “pockets of freedom.”

“We are rekindling the ideal,” he said, “that through hard work and playing by the rules and with the government out of our way anybody can succeed.”

What would Weatherford’s family have done if the government had gotten out of the way when they were swamped with medical bills they couldn’t afford?

Medicaid covered $100,000 of his deceased infant brother’s cancer treatment.

Weatherford says he’s not a hypocrite for wanting to deny Medicaid to other Floridians, His brother was a child, he said. The individuals who’d be covered under expansion – those earning up to 138 percent of the federal poverty line – are adults.

“The idea of Medicaid expansion predominantly helps able bodied single adults, most of them childless,” Weatherford said. “The question is are those the people we want to be spending millions and millions of dollars on to provide insurance for?

Is that really the question we should be asking? Or is it that Weatherford wants the question of his hypocrisy to go away?

Weatherford left out the word “working” when he described those who would be eligible for Medicaid under expansion. Most of the single, childless adults who would get coverage are the working poor. They aren’t sitting on their butts doing nothing. They just happen to work jobs that don’t provide them with insurance.

Does that make them less deserving than Weatherford’s brother?

Attitudes like Weatherford’s — think 47 percent — cost Republicans the White House in 2012.

If he is one of the party’s rising stars, the GOP future isn’t looking too bright.

Rhonda Swan is an editorial writer for The Palm Beach Post and author of “Dancing to the Rhythm of My Soul: A Sister’s Guide for Transforming Madness into Gladness.” She can be reached by email here.

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14 Responses for “Florida Speaker Weatherford’s Homeschool Blinders to the Poor and Uninsured”

  1. confidential says:

    This man needs to be ousted in 2014, if up for re-election!!

  2. Kip Durocher says:

    just another soulless, republican wasp. that is how the gop like their “rising stars.”
    he mouths all the right platitudes to garner the support of the bigoted white majority that is slowly dwindling away.
    the only thing that may save Florida and the USA is the fact that all the wasps all dying off and large numbers of new voters are taking their place..
    men like this man care nothing for florida ~ their agenda is to line their pockets, move up into federal politics and get really rich.

    “medicaid covered $100,000 of his deceased infant brother’s cancer treatment. weatherford says he’s not a hypocrite for wanting to deny medicaid to other floridians, his brother was a child, he said.”

    he needs to read a bit and see what he and his ilk are doing to the poor children of florida.
    he is either a hypocrite, dumb, a liar or a bit of all three. my money is on the liar/hypocrite persona.

  3. Stevie says:

    When I grew up my father made $35 a week and we had health insurance and a Doctor that came to the house. Why not now? Is it because the government is paying people not to work, or is it because it is easier to go on welfare and food stamps than to get a job, or is it because all the Republicans are heartless fools?

    I deserve a Cadillac and a new suit, but I don’t have the right to these things as I don’t have a right to health care at my neighbor’s expense. Maybe the taxes are just so high there is nothing left for health insurance. You tell me.

  4. Liana G says:

    Reading this article reminded me of another on NPR concerning how easy it is for people to cheat the system.

    “Medicaid covered $100,000 of his deceased infant brother’s cancer treatment.” Weatherford is around forty years old according to the article( Weatherford used the rejection to score points last week at the Conservative Political Action Conference where he spoke as one of CPAC’s “10 Rising Stars Under 40.”). Doesn’t the cost for his infant brother’s care 40 years ago strike anyone as astronomical? Can we afford to spend that much money on every sick person in America?

    From the NPR article: Unfit for Work

    “Part of the rise in the number of people on disability is simply driven by the fact that the workforce is getting older, and older people tend to have more health problems.

    But disability has also become a de facto welfare program for people without a lot of education or job skills. […] Once people go onto disability, they almost never go back to work. Fewer than 1 percent of those who were on the federal program for disabled workers at the beginning of 2011 have returned to the workforce since then, one economist told me.

    People who leave the workforce and go on disability qualify for Medicare, the government health care program that also covers the elderly. They also get disability payments from the government of about $13,000 a year. This isn’t great. But if your alternative is a minimum wage job that will pay you at most $15,000 a year, and probably does not include health insurance, disability may be a better option.”…

    …”As I got further into this story, I started hearing about another group of people on disability: kids. People in Hale County told me that what you want is a kid who can “pull a check.” Jahleel’s mom wants him to do well in school. That is absolutely clear. But her livelihood depends on Jahleel struggling in school. This tension only increases as kids get older. One mother told me her teenage son wanted to work, but she didn’t want him to get a job because if he did, the family would lose its disability check.”… (this part really got to me. I so want to believe this is not true…)

  5. confidential says:

    While one third of Americans give in to extreme conservatives brain washing lies and refuse to see our middle and poor class, children and adults sad reality, our battle/struggle to defeat the extreme conservationist status quo, will keep up advancing slowly but surely until we will totally succeed. In spite of the Gerrymandering electoral redistricting, the denied Right to Vote, the long lines to the ballot box, scare tactics and election intended frauds, etc…we will win and make America at least, what it was before 2001. Lets get out and vote in 2014, this time is of vital importance!

  6. confidential says:

    To Stevie:

    Please get informed of the reality of our unemployed looking for jobs to no avail;
    Do you really believe those Americans in the video were refusing to get a job just to live on a meager unemployment check…with no pride and no way out? How could you undermine in such a way your fellow American based in distorted data fed by the extreme conservationist? You want us to believe that this lady wanted to be homeless?
    Do you and the one’s that spread lies believe that these people want to exhaust their life savings, 401K’s and or retirement savings just by refusing work and stay on the meager unemployment checks?
    Have you heard of the “if unemployed need not to apply?”or “you are overqualified for this position”. probably you have not been exposed to that. The years when your Dad sustained the whole family and a doctors visit at your front door steps with a $35/week pay are long gone.Long taken over by Wall Street Tycoons “a la Bain” that took our manufacturing overseas to profit from slavery. by the tax exemption loopholes that our high taxes have to subsidize along with the affluent paying lower taxes than most of us. Stop the lies about Americans not working just to live of the unemployment checks…who cares to make a living off of that! Stop the lies! Please all watch the sad reality shown in these links above about our unemployed fellow Americans and maybe we will try and do something about it, other than lie or sweep it under the rug..
    Or maybe watch the courage of the Homeless Children of Florida; and maybe have some compassion.

  7. johnny taxpayer says:

    “You’d think the feds were trying to give Florida a used car instead of offering the state an estimated $51 billion over the next decade”

    I’d like the author to explain where exactly the $51billion that the Feds will “give” Florida will come from? The federal government, like the state government doesn’t give anything. It takes money from us, and decides how to spend it, supposedly on our behalf. You can certainly argue the merits of expanding medicare (though I don’t think we need to include the Speaker’s dead brother in that discussion), but let’s not pretend the money just magically appears, it’s our money. Convince us this is how we should spend it, rather than pretending the federal Government some how won the power ball and can give Florida $51 billion that wasn’t ours to begin with!

  8. Anon says:

    Those who say American citizens don’t have a right to health care ought to go see if Romney and Ryan would hire them as mouth pieces.

  9. Stevie says:

    Maybe you are even reading some of this stuff…it goes along with the videos of the Chicago slums. and the real estate depression

    Thank you sire Obama the king and your old guard buddies at the GOP;

    The head of the NFIB couldn’t make the situation any clearer:

    “While the Fortune 500 is enjoying record high earnings, Main Street earnings remain depressed. Far more firms report sales down quarter over quarter than up. Washington is manufacturing one crisis after another—the debt ceiling, the fiscal cliff and the Sequester. Spreading fear and instability are certainly not a strategy to encourage investment and entrepreneurship. Three-quarters of small-business owners think that business conditions will be the same or worse in six months. Until owners’ forecast for the economy improves substantially, there will be little boost to hiring and spending from the small business half of the economy.” – NFIB chief economist Bill Dunkelberg

    If consumers, who account for 71% of the economy, aren’t spending, and small business owners, who do 65% of all the hiring in the country, are petrified with insecurity, why is the stock market hitting all-time highs and the corporate media proclaiming happy days are here again? It can be explained by the distribution of wealth and income in this country. Every media pundit, politician, Wall Street shill, Ivy League PhD economist, and corporate titan you see on CNBC, Fox or any corporate media outlet is a 1%er or better. The chart below shows the bottom 99% saw their real incomes decline between 2009 and 2011, while the top 1% reaped the stock market gains and corporate bonuses for using “creative” accounting to generate record corporate profits. The trend in 2012 through today has only widened this gap, as real worker wages have continued to decline and the stock market has advanced another 20%.

    The feudal financial industry lords are feasting on caviar and champagne in their mountaintop manors while the serfs and peasants scrounge in the gutters for scraps and morsels. This path has been chosen by the king (Obama) and enabled by his court jester (Bernanke). Money printing and inflation are their weapons of choice. We are living in a 21st Century version of the Dark Ages.

  10. Deep South says:

    Many choose not to have health insurance. I for one was very fit and cautious about my diet and exercise all the time. When I had to go to a doctor or to the hospital I paid for it out of my pocket. Why do I have to have health insurance ? So I am forced to take care of those that abuse themselves. Those that eat poorly and do not exercise. It’s just not fair !!!

  11. confidential says:

    Maybe he will also come up with the same Montana GOP legislators idea to feed the and poor hungry children with road kill!

  12. Amanda says:

    This guy gives all of the democratic homeschooling families a bad name.

  13. confidential says:

    J. Taxpayer here, should go and get the statistics about how many billions over 51, does the Federal government give out to multinationals (oil barons) and corporations in “tax subsidies” and refunds and how many more billions and trillions the Fed does not receive in taxes form billionaires “a la Bain” that pay less than 14% tax when as a middle class tax payer I contribute 38% plus of my earnings in taxes!
    Right there is where our problem lays is not too much spending but otherwise the lack of proper revenue due to handing out our hard earned taxes to the 1% and wealthy corporations.
    Meanwhile conservatives aim at firing public employees because we have too many…? We have the service workers that our taxes pay for to serve us well.They want to end Saturday delivery of our mail when and I go to buy stamps to the post office and I have to wait on a line of at least 8 in front of me? Is not that I will not survive without my Saturday delivery but instead the 80,000 more postal workers on the unemployment line, is what should concern us all. And for what because in 2006 the GOP Congress voted to force the USPS to contribute 75 years of pensions in about to 10 years…and for what? to go and play it on the their buddies gamblers paradise called Wall Street? That is the only reason why the USPS gives losses year after year since 2007. This extreme conservatives are destroying our country with their fascist policies to take out more from our services and health paid for our taxes already, to give tax breaks and subsidies to the wealthy and exempt them to pay the fair share of their earning and wealth generated here and stacked overseas.

    All our millions of workers unemployed to no fault of their own is what is eroding the very fabric of America. They do not get their decent pay check, CAN”T CONTRIBUTE their payroll tax and or income tax (to reduce our budget deficits) they do not shop in our stores and at least for 99 weeks plus we have to pay their unemployment. How retarded and square minded could be any of these rich Tea Baggers lobbying for less government services including our USPS one? and action that only generates more jobless We do not need less government spending, we need the revenue that was gifted away in the past 3 decades.The only less government spending we need are these useless wars and the foreign aid. Aid our own first! Lets get informed by researching reality and not lies:

  14. confidential says:
    Lets these GOP bigots keep up the good job they are doing, so we can remember well and boot as many of them as we can in 2014.

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