A Powerful View on Medicare Expansion

Florida House Speaker Will Weatherford gave a speech today at the opening of the 2013 Florida legislative session. Below are his personal views on the subject of whether Florida should accept the Medicare expansion that is part of Obamacare. His words are both true and painful.

Perhaps one of the most challenging questions we’ll face this Session is whether we should expand Medicaid.

Let me start by saying, I know this is a very difficult issue.

Passions will run high and principles will clash within this chamber.

On the matter of expansion, allow me to depart from the message of the House for a moment, and speak to you about my personal views.

First of all, let me say, I believe in the safety net.

My family has benefited from the safety net.

As many of you know, I grew up in a family of nine children. My father was self-employed and did the best he could to provide for us but we never had health insurance. We could never afford health insurance.

My baby brother Peter was diagnosed with cancer when he was 13 months old. He was in and out of the hospital for seven months.

My Mom and Dad basically lived at the Ronald McDonald House – because they couldn’t afford to stay in a hotel.

After two major surgeries, Peter lost his battle with cancer and my father found himself with a mountain of medical bills that he could never afford to pay.

It was the safety net that picked my father up.

It was the safety net that picked my family up.

I will continue to believe in – and fight for – a strong safety net for Florida.

Because the measure of our state is not how well we take care of the rich, but how well we take care of the sickest and weakest among us.

But Members, I also firmly believe that a government that grows too big, becomes too intrusive, and fosters too much dependency will threaten our liberty, our freedom and our prosperity.

Members — I am opposed to Medicaid expansion because I believe it crosses the line of the proper role of government

I believe it forces Florida to expand a broken system that we have been battling Washington to fix, and I believe it will ultimately drive up the cost of health care.
This inflexible plan, thrust upon us by the federal government, is not aimed at strengthening the safety net.

It pushes a social ideology at the expense of our future.

The trouble with this social experiment is that it is destined for failure.

The notion that we’re going to receive free money from the federal government is laughable.

This is the same federal government that has not passed a budget in nearly four years.

This is the same federal government that spends 1.2 trillion dollars more than it takes in in every year.

Florida is being tempted with empty promises to comply with policies we would never pay for
if we knew the true cost.

They’re trying to buy off states one by one.

I am not buying it. Florida should not buy it.

Because their failure to deliver has such high stakes for Floridians.

If they get this wrong, we are on the hook.

It would be far easier for me, and for us, to simply say yes to the so called “free money,” enjoy the accolades for a few years, and leave office knowing that the true cost will come
due long after we’re gone.

It’s not right, and it’s not what I signed up for.

Florida’s governor disagrees, seeing a moral imperative to provide expanded Medicare so long as it is fully subsidized by the Federal government (borrowing even more against our children’s future).

Mr. Obama and the Democrats are trying to force us all to expand health care subsidies to the exclusion of economic opportunity and growth while we increase dependency and bankrupt the country.

Will Weatherford is right and we need to tell our congressional representatives to de-fund Obamacare now.

You can send Will a thank-you here.

Regards, Pete Weldon

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