Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant (R) has invested a fair amount of time and energy in undermining the implementation of the Affordable Care Act. It was therefore odd, in an ironic sort of way, to hear the far-right governor complain that the ACA isn’t producing better results in his home state.
It’s really not complicated: those who’ve tried to make “Obamacare” fail at the state level don’t get to complain about the law underperforming in their state. (Rachel recently demonstrated the underlying point with a metaphor involving a hammer and a remote-control car. I’ve included it below for your viewing pleasure.)
Alas, Bryant wasn’t alone. We talked earlier about the preliminary data on ACA premiums, which Republicans said would “skyrocket” in 2015, but which actually look pretty good in most parts of the country. Simon Maloy explained, however, that the right is focusing on figures out of Florida.
The Miami Herald reported earlier this week that “Floridians who buy health insurance on the individual market for next year will face an average increase of 13.2 percent in their monthly premiums, according to rate proposals unveiled Monday by the state’s Office of Insurance Regulation.” That isn’t anywhere near the “skyrocketing” that Republicans assured us was coming, but 13.2 percent would qualify as a “double-digit rate increase,” and conservatives were quick to point that out. (Consumer health advocates in the state accused regulators of employing a flawed methodology, as the Herald notes.)One loud critic of the Florida premium increase is the state’s Republican governor, Rick Scott, who said in a statement that “Obamacare is a bad law that just seems to be getting worse,” and “Florida families are going to be slammed with higher costs. Obamacare has failed to live up to its promises in nearly every way.”
The problem, of course, is Scott’s complete and total lack of credibility. Indeed, he has the same problem Bryant has in Mississippi – those who try to break something don’t get to whine when it fails to meet their expectations for efficacy.
Or as Maloy put it, Florida Republicans “set out to sabotage the law, and now they’re trying to score political points off the fruits of their sabotage.”
To be sure, plenty of red-state officials, far from the Sunshine State, refused to create exchange marketplaces and rejected Medicaid expansion, hobbling the ACA’s ability to work effectively for Americans who need it. But Scott and his allies didn’t just stop there – Florida Republicans went to truly ridiculous lengths to block “navigators” from helping consumers better understand the system and blocked state insurance officials from negotiating lower prices on behalf of consumers.
At a distance, it’s almost as if the governor started with a specific goal: try to make premiums higher for Floridians. He then worked backwards to make sure that goal was reached, then pretended to be outraged when Scott realized his plan actually worked – in so far as his constituents are getting a raw deal.
Let’s make this plain: those who deliberately undermine laws don’t get to complain about the efficacy of those laws.