Florida's Senator Rick Scott calls out the President
On December 14 it was reported that the House version of President Biden's 'Build Back Better' bill proposes cutting $3.4 billion of federal funding for hospitals that treat the poor and uninsured. The money will instead contribute to a proposed $73.9 billion to be given to expand the Affordable Care Act - known as Obamacare.
The cuts were highlighted by Florida's Republican Senator Rick Scott in a letter sent to hospital executives across the state, pointing out an effective $31 million cut in annual funding for hospitals in poorer areas of Florida.
What's most apparent is that the cuts - part of the controversial $1.7 Trillion spending bill will disproportionately affect Republican controlled states where the combined cuts amount to over $420 million per year. Senator Scott called it out for what it is:
"I just think that it's evil. It's mean spirited. The Democrats are taking care of the people in New York or Illinois or Connecticut and taking advantage of the people in places like Florida or Texas."
Inflation is an issue too
Senator Scott's objections to build back better don't appear just to be about partisanship either - it's not just about the bill being initiated by the Biden administration, even though not a single Republican broke ranks and approved the bill when it was voted through the House of Representatives.
In addition to the cuts largely affecting Republican controlled states where Obamacare hasn't been as widely embraced, Scott also appeared on national news this week, discussing how the Build Back Better bill will be hindered by the record levels of inflation being reported across the USA.
The inflation has been made worse by the extensive money printing by the government as a means of propping up the economy and bailing out citizens through the pandemic. Now the dust has settled, the dollar is extremely weak for its purchasing power having been lost through inflation. On December 10 it was reported that inflation had risen by 6.8% in the last year - the highest since 1982.
The effect of this, compounded by supply chain issues is that prices for Americans now see punishingly high prices in real terms. To illustrate this in practice, gasoline prices rose by 58.1% in November – the largest increase over 12 months since 1980.
Will the infrastructure bill make things worse?
Time will tell if the funding cuts for Florida hospitals make it through all stages of approval. If so, the impacts for Floridians and the poorest and those without health insurance in Republican states could be significant.
What do you think about the likely effects of the Build Back Better bill? Do you have confidence that the government will care about the effects for all citizens, or does it favor Democrat voters? Let me know in the comments section below.