In a move some will see as vain, in vain, or both, Gov. Rick Scott yesterday sent a letter to U.S. congressional leaders sounding the identity theft alarm that only opponents of Obamacare seem to find in any way alarming.
The letter addressed to Republican House Speaker John Boehner and Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid claims “Floridians should not have to exchange their privacy for insurance.”
Right there you get the idea that Governor Scott, facing a tough 2014 reelection battle, may be more concerned about continuing to fan the flames of anti-Obamacare sentiment in his base than he is about any harm actually coming to uninsured Floridians.
He asks Boehner and Reid to “…take immediate action by whatever means available to thoroughly review what privacy rules and safeguards are in place to protect Americans’ personal information…”
In reality, those rules and safeguards are already in place and in play. The governor knows that all too well, having been repeatedly notified and reminded of that by federal Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) officials.
Scott got elected in 2010 due in large part to spending millions of his own fortune on misleading anti-Obamacare TV ads that misinformed and rallied conservative voters around his candidacy. This pointless new letter penned to congressional leaders with weightier matters on their minds comes right out of the same playbook.
The center of the governor’s attention for now is the Obamacare Navigator Program.
This is the outreach arm of national health reform, working with partner organizations in Florida and nationwide to hire and train field counselors who’ll help uninsured people “navigate” and enroll in new health insurance exchanges.
It would have been a strong, nonpartisan leadership move, had the governor quietly and diligently worked behind the scenes with the HHS and statewide organizations in recent months to ensure navigators were being effectively trained in privacy protection protocol.
Instead, we get this alarmist letter full of inaccuracy and innuendo, addressed to John Boehner and Harry Reid but clearly written for the red meat consumption of Scott-leaning voters.
As HHS Secretary Kathleen Sibelius said yesterday after meeting with local leaders in Jacksonville, “Florida has done some pretty unbelievable things.” including “a very intentional campaign of misinformation” about the Affordable Care Act.
As yesterday’s letter proves, the governor of Florida is nothing if not firmly entrenched in campaign mode.