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Fla. Obamacare war of words rages on between Rick Scott and Charlie Crist

As reported by the Miami Herald, yesterday was Gov. Rick Scott’s turn to lob the ball back to former governor and 2014 Democratic gubernatorial challenger Charlie Crist, as the two engage in a protracted public debate about the impact of Obamacare in Florida. The “battle within a battle” began in earnest a couple of weeks ago, after a spokesman for the embattled governor’s reelection campaign admitted they were going negative almost from the outset, saying, “Just yesterday, we launched our first attack ad against Charlie Crist”.

Rick Scott running against Obamacare again
Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images

In fact, multimillionaire Scott’s “Let’s Get To Work” campaign committee bought millions of dollars of TV time to air its first 30-second attack ad. It shows Crist answering the question, “Do you think nothing about Obamacare has irreparably harmed Floridians in any way?” by saying, “No, I don’t think so at all, I think it’s been great.” The video clip is accompanied by text graphics inaccurately blaming Obamacare for “300,000 health plans in Florida cancelled” and “2.5 million Americans out of the workforce”.

Both those claims have been labeled “Mostly False” on the “Truth-O-Meter” at the Pulitzer Prize-winning fact-checking website, Nonetheless, just days ago a second Scott attack ad came out, repeating the same inaccurate claim that 300,000 Floridians have had their coverage canceled.

The Crist campaign quickly released a counterattack ad saying, “Rick Scott is at it again…”. Though not going on TV as yet, the 30-second online spot accurately quotes multiple fact-checking sites that have stamped Scott’s anti-Crist/Obamacare attacks as “misleading” and “incorrect”.

Yet when questioned on-camera yesterday about the truthfulness of his advertising attacks, Scott simply said, “Clearly, the ad’s accurate”. Then, he launched into a litany of anti-Obamacare talking points.

Crist meanwhile, has proven he will have none of the negativity. Instead, he's focusing in on verifiable facts he believes tell a success story about the positive impact of Obamacare in Florida; a state that for years has suffered with just about the worst uninsured crisis in the country.

In fact, Florida now leads the nation in Obamacare enrollment. Since October 1, close to a half-million people have signed up through the new federal health care exchange.

In fact, thousands of Floridians with preexisting medical conditions have joined millions nationwide in having Obamacare to thank for no longer being denied health insurance coverage. Nor are they being charged exorbitantly higher premiums, nor having lifetime “caps” placed on their benefits.

In fact, millions of seniors in Florida and nationwide are saving thousands of dollars a year on prescription drugs. That's because Obamacare is reducing and eliminating the infamous Medicare RX “doughnut hole” created by the administration of President George W. Bush.

In fact, because of Obamacare, thousands of uninsured young adults in Florida and millions more nationwide are now able to remain covered by their parents’ health plans until age 26. They also, along with millions of Floridians and hundreds of millions of Americans of all ages, now receive free wellness care and preventive screenings for deadly diseases…thanks to Obamacare.

And in fact, Obamacare has clamped down on the kind of Medicare fraud and abuse that saw Columbia HCA -- the healthcare giant run by Rick Scott for years before he ran for governor -- hit with a then-record $1.7 billion fine for cheating taxpayers. This was right after Scott had resigned as CEO and pleaded the fifth 75 times during a federal investigation of the company.

Because of irrefutable facts like all these, Charlie Crist would seem to have a solid chance of winning the war of words with Rick Scott over Obamacare. If he does, he would also seem to have a good shot at winning his old job back come November.

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