Florida Governor Rick Scott’s routine trip to Starbucks in Gainesville was loudly interrupted this past Tuesday, with a patron delivering a scathing rebuke against Scott’s latest decision to halt expansion of Medicaid.
Cara Jennings, later identified by a Tampa television station, called Scott an “asshole”, ranting, “You don’t care about working people. You don’t care. You should be ashamed to show your face around here.” She continued to berate him for denying her access to Obamacare, calling him “an embarrassment to our state.”
Her rant was undeterred by the self-proclaimed “jobs governor” rebuttal that he has created millions of positions since his election. Jennings even dismissed Scott’s spokesperson Jeri Bustamante when she attempted to intervene and appease the woman.
Jennings responded to Scott’s argument of his job creation by looking around the coffee shop and demanding, “Who here has a great job or is looking forward to finishing school? Do you really feel like you have a job coming up?”
Given that Scott’s campaign was based on opposition to a Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act, followed by a February 2013 reversal of this position in which he called the Act a “compassionate common sense step forward,” many voters believed Scott would support an expansion that would require access to care. However, Scott’s stance may have been a ploy; he did not lobby the Legislature to pass an expansion in 2013 and made no reference to support these claims in 2014.
2015 actually saw Scott adamantly oppose an expansion, with him even going so far as to sue the federal government in court. He accused health secretary Sylvia Burwell of coercing Florida into a Medicaid expansion by withholding support of Florida’s $2 billion supplemental program called Low Income Pool. Scott eventually withdrew the suit under the agreement of the federal government allowing Florida to continue its LIP program for two years, reducing funding by 75 percent. His contradictory behavior undoubtedly sparked rage for many individuals, including Jennings.
The man who shot the video, Stephen Bender, reported that the patron started her berating calling Scott out for the recent abortion bill he signed two weeks ago. The controversial bill gained national attention, as it bans the entire state from spending Medicaid to fund abortion clinics everywhere, including institutions like Planned Parenthood.
Jennings, who later told the Tampa station that a number of people thanked her after her tirade, concluded with telling the governor that “rich people like you don’t know what to do. When poor people like us need health services, you cut them. Shame on you, Rick Scott, you are an embarrassment to our state.” The governor had no response, simply choosing to exit the store rather than respond to her accusations.
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