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COLUMN

Happytown

The week where we went down the rabbit hole of Rick Scott's health care ambivalence and came up to breathe the fresh air of Orange County's domestic-partner registry. Everything is so confusing!

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Sometimes you just have to crouch in a bathroom stall after saying something embarrassing at a (or to a) party: You hastily text for an exit route to a runaway car, await a friend with a head-shielding gunnysack and sneak out the door as if that brain-vomit never happened. One thing you don't usually do, though, is go on a media tour and repeat what you said with varying takes on what it was you meant to say, falsified numbers included. That is, unless, you are Florida's increasingly rash Gov. Rick Scott.

Scott took a stuttering stumble following the June 28 U.S. Supreme Court decision on the Affordable Care Act. There were varying shades of ambivalence in the succeeding days, cresting somewhere around a foot-stomp and "don't wanna!" brat-growl before he drove us into the uncertain ether to which we are now ascribed. So, what happens now? Well, first, every editorial director at every news-paper in the state runs futile circles around Scott's seeming absence of benevolence – "Pants On Fire!" etc. – making sure along the way to point out that Scott doesn't even really know what he's talking about.

Case in point: Scott's immediate assertion that the Medicaid expansion piece of the ACA would cost the state $1.9 billion a year ("We can't pay for that!" he told Fox News). According to the Tampa Bay Times, even Scott's own lackeys at the state agency that oversees Medicaid were aware that the cost would increase from $121 million in 2013 to a possible $1.47 billion a decade later, gradually.

No worries. Scott's ever-pleasant spokesman Brian Burgess told the Times that the actual cost to the state didn't matter, anyway – because all of this is going to have "strings attached," like all Communist conspiracies – and, besides, "We have yet to hear a number that's good news for the state. They are substantially higher than what the state can afford."

We have a number for Burgess and Scott: 3.7 million – the number of Floridians according to the 2010 census who don't have any insurance coverage. Seems these numbers don't count unless they have dollar signs attached to them and poor people removed from them.

Regardless, Scott has become a laughing stock (again) nationwide for basically not giving a damn about people, something people should have already been aware of when they elected somebody with a degree in defrauding health care.

By July 5 – once the sparkly distractions of Independence Day had blown over – the Palm Beach Post finally drew the inevitable conclusion that, despite Scott's nerve-wracking bluster in his decision to ignore the ACA, the feds are probably going to just step in and save Florida. Bigger government! That means that even though Scott has already missed a June 29 deadline to file for an $830 million grant to set up the law's required exchanges and he refused $1 million toward planning the whole shebang earlier in the year, he may yet have to deal with a fate worse than, uh, doing nothing.

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