Florida's Republican governor Rick Scott loathes Obamacare so much that he turned down $40 million in federal health care funds that would keep hundreds of disabled kids at home with their parents, rather than warehoused in nursing homes. So says the Department of Justice, whose civil rights division recently investigated the situation in Florida.
ABC News reported this weekend that, in a letter to Florida's attorney general, the Justice Department cited the case of a "5-year-old child, a quadriplegic after a car accident, who had been living in a state facility for three years. The mother wants to bring the child home but has been told the waiting list for community and home-based services was five to ten years. 'I cry all the time thinking of [my child]… There should be something out there to help children come home,' the mother told Justice Department investigators, according to the letter." If Florida doesn't move to remedy the situation, the Justice Department may bring suit against the state on behalf of the kids.
The Justice Department knocked the state for cutting millions from services for the disabled, refusing the federal money earmarked for transitioning people out of nursing homes, and for giving nursing homes a bonus for taking in kids, rather than making it possible for them to go home to their parents. It's hardly the first time that Scott has rejected federal money. In 2011, he turned down $2.4 billion in federal stimulus funds for high-speed rail projects. And, all told, he's rejected more than $50 million in federal health care funding. Think Progress tallied up the numbers in June and found that Scott had rebuffed, among other things:
– Part of a $40 million federal program to promote wellness, including helping those with chronic diseases, such as diabetes, manage their health.
– $8 million for construction of community-health centers.
– $3.4 million for in-home visitations with at-risk families.
– $2.1 million to set up a consumer-assistance office to educate Floridians about health insurance and assist them in appeals when insurers deny treatment.
– $2 million for hospice care for children.
– $2 million to $650,000 to help low-income seniors pay their Medicare premiums and buy prescription drugs.
Scott has followed the tea party agenda to the letter, but it doesn't seem to be winning him many fans outside of those small circles. His approval rating, around 29 percent, is so low that Mitt Romney doesn't want to hang out with him in this contested swing state.