In their relentless ideological crusade against President Obama’s health care reform law, Florida’s GOP lawmakers have repeatedly proven willing to throw the state’s most vulnerable citizens under the bus to make a statement. Gov. Rick Scott (R) has rejected millions of federal dollars to provide health care for retirees, seniors, children, and people with disabilities. Florida Republicans have even turned down money to fight child abuse and neglect.
Now the Florida Independent reports that cancer patients are the latest group to suffer from Republicans’ political games and unwillingness to accept federal grants:
Among the long list of federal health grants the state has shunned in the past year was a small award that would have “reduced the burden of cancer.”
A spokesperson for the Florida Department of Health tells The Florida Independent that budget authority was denied for a competitive grant “awarded to Florida beginning October 2010 for $175,000 yearly.” […]
The grant did not require any contributions from the state. […]
According to a recent report by the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, Florida is among many states that have “missed opportunities to enact laws and policies that could not only save money and generate revenue, but also save lives.”
State advisory councils working on the Florida Cancer Plan noted that the rejected grant would have “accelerated prevention and risk reduction policies and efforts.” The grant money would have been used for several important plans, including creating a forum to improve continuing care for cancer patients, initiatives to reduce tobacco use, and programs to reduce obesity in school-aged children.
Local officials throughout the state have voiced their frustration at Scott for turning away money they desperately need simply to grandstand against health care reform.
Scott is a former private health industry executive who made his fortune downsizing hospitals for profit. His partisan demagoguery on health reform and other issues has helped make him the least popular governor in America.
Scott’s claim to be standing on principle by vetoing health care money is especially disingenuous given that this year he signed a budget that uses $370 million of federal stimulus money after he vowed to “fight all stimulus money.”