Hispanics, Floridas fastest-growing and least-insured demographic, could benefit disproportionately from Obamacare and, polls show, generally trust government more than other racial and ethnic groups.
But if Democrats fail to make the case to Hispanics and if Hispanics dont turn out in 2014 (in a repeat of 2010), their support in public-opinion polls won't mean much.
And if many private health insurance costs skyrocket or its services diminish, as some Republicans predict, Obamacare could prove to be a political disaster.
Obamacares Medicare cuts already proved troublesome in 2010. Retirees, far more-likely to vote than poor or working-class people, sided with the GOP. And, as was reported at a 2009 South Carolina town hall, some retirees might be more likely to say without realizing the irony: keep your government hands off my Medicare.
Talk about a disconnect.
But it worked for Republicans and groups like Conservatives for Patients Rights, which sent out town hall alert notices and advertised heavily against the law at the time. CPR was founded by Scott, polled by Fabrizio.
The CPR campaign was a springboard to run for governor for Scott, who had also opposed President Bill Clintons health initiative pushed by Hillary Clinton in 1993. In between, Scott grew Columbia/HCA into the biggest hospital chain before it was fined a record $1.7 billion related to Medicare fraud.
Yup: Scott earned a good portion of his personal fortune through a hospital chain that relied in good measure on government-run healthcare. He then campaigned against government-run healthcare often without mentioning that the heart of the Obamacare law, an individual mandate that everyone buys insurance, was embraced by conservatives when they fought Hillarycare.
President Obama, too, has done his share of flip-flopping on the issue. He opposed the individual mandate in 2008.
Yet Obama won both Florida and national office twice, and the second time he beat out Republican Mitt Romney who made an individual mandate central to his health overhaul as governor of Massachusetts.
By the time of the 2012 elections, the lines were clear: Obama was the were-in-this-together candidate; Romney was the free-market guy bashing Obamacare
An apt summation of the Republican health position: We do not want socialized medicine One of these days you and I are going to spend our sunset years telling our children and our childrens children what it once was like in America when men were free.
But Romney didnt say that.
That was Ronald Reagan, talking about Medicare, in 1961. And Florida twice elected him, too.
Floridians also gave Pepper a shot. A year after that Reagan Medicare speech, Pepper was elected to a Miami-based U.S. House seat where he served until his death in 1989.
In that time, Pepper gained a reputation for getting under President Reagans skin and for being a tireless champion of Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security, which together pump about $100 billion in cash into Florida every year.
Sen. Smathers voted for such social programs along with Rep. Pepper, and the senator later expressed regrets about the 1950 campaign. So did some members of the still-powerful Florida Medical Association, which helped defeat the Pepper.
Health insurance wasn't the only knock against Pepper during the Senate race. His pro-Stalin leanings were devastating, said Clark, the historian. After the loss, Clark said, Pepper learned to be fiercely anti-communist for his comeback House race.
Pepper showed Florida politicians the importance of the senior vote and social-welfare programs. But he was careful with his words; he understood the symbolism.
He didnt call it socialism, Clark said. He called it government spending.