Money for abstinence, but not dying kids?

In recent months, Florida politicians have turned away millions of federal dollars meant for Floridians in need.

There was money for the disabled.

For the elderly who can't afford medicine.

Even for dying children who need help from hospice.

In each and every case, the money was there — paid in part by Florida taxpayers.

But Florida Republicans turned it down, claiming they didn't want anything to do with "Obamacare."

How very convenient for them and their subsidized health-care plans.

When you're getting taxpayers to underwrite your $8-a-month insurance policy, the life-and-death woes of the commoners probably seem far removed.

Turning down this money didn't save you a single cent.

Other states were ready to take the money. Even other conservative leaders who opposed to the Affordable Care Act couldn't be so callous as to reject ready money for constituents in need.

So Florida continues to send more money to Washington than it gets back … with the blessing of Gov. Rick Scott and House Speaker Dean Cannon.

Except this story gets more interesting.

Because it turns out, Florida didn't turn down all of the money authorized by the Affordable Care Act.

While Florida Republicans turned down, gave back or refused to apply for more than $50 million in funds, they did accept $2 million …. to promote abstinence.

Talk about selective principles.

Personally, I support abstinence education as part of comprehensive teaching.

But I also support comforting dying children during their final days … and helping the elderly infirm live in their own homes in dignity.

So I asked Cannon and other politicians — such as State Rep. Mike Horner, who once claimed it wouldn't be "appropriate" to take money for the elderly poor from the Affordable Care Act — why it was OK to take money for abstinence.

Both said it was because the abstinence money didn't come from that nasty old Obamacare bill itself, but rather "a rider" to the bill.

I bet some of those dying kids wish their funds had been a "rider," as well.


Your weekly dose of health news, tips and events for Maryland
See a sample | Sign up