Ron DeSantis wants to run for president; if press reports are to be believed, he’ll announce his bid sometime this spring, after the Florida legislative session wraps up. The governor also loves to talk about freedom: he often speaks about how he’s protecting “the free state of Florida” from overreach by the Biden administration. 

But what kind of freedom does DeSantis have in mind? If we want to get an idea of his vision for America, perhaps we ought to look at the policies he has enacted in the Sunshine State.

In April, before Roe v. Wade was overturned, DeSantis signed a 15-week abortion ban into law. During his re-election campaign, he refused to tell voters whether he would enact further restrictions. Now that he’s won a second term, DeSantis has signaled to the Florida legislature that he is willing to sign a six-week abortion ban into law. According to the Guttmacher Institute, a six-week ban would make 57 percent of abortions illegal — likely without exceptions for rape, incest, or cases where the life of the mother is endangered. 

But hey, whatever it takes to win the South Carolina primary, right?

The Florida governor has also positioned himself as a strident opponent of “wokeness” in education. 

In March, DeSantis signed HB 1557 — better known as the “don’t say gay” bill — which prohibits “classroom instruction by school personnel or third parties on sexual orientation or gender identity,” in “kindergarten through grade three or in a manner that is not age appropriate or developmentally appropriate for students in accordance with state standards.”

The statutory text is incredibly vague; critics warn that it could be interpreted as, say, prohibiting a gay teacher from mentioning their same-sex spouse in the classroom, or even having pictures of them visible on their desk. The law could also constrain teachers’ ability to address anti-LGBTQ bullying in class, since doing so would necessarily require discussion of  “sexual orientation or gender identity” by “school personnel.” 

In April, Florida banned dozens of math textbooks from public schools on the grounds that they contained “critical race theory,” among other things. Specifically, reviewers objected to social-emotional learning content encouraging students to develop grit, and a word problem comparing the salaries of the men’s and women’s US national soccer teams. 

DeSantis recently threatened to ban the new AP African American Studies course; the College Board revised the curriculum to remove subjects such as the Black Lives Matter movement and the debate over reparations.

That sure seems like a lot of government control for a supposed bastion of freedom. However! Fear not, DeSantis has stood fast against government involvement in one crucial area: the provision of health insurance to the poor. 

Before he became governor, DeSantis served as the congressman for Florida’s 6th district. During his tenure in the House, he voted to repeal the Affordable Care Act, better known as Obamacare, which includes a provision expanding Medicaid, a joint federal-state program to provide health insurance to low-income people. He voted for Paul Ryan’s budgets, which included large cuts to funding for SNAP, K-12 schools, Pell Grants — and, of course, cuts to Medicaid. 

When Obamacare was first passed, Medicaid expansion — by raising eligibility to cover those at up to 133 percent of the federal poverty line — was mandatory. A 2012 Supreme Court ruling, NFIB v. Sebelius, held that the mandatory expansion was unconstitutional, turning it into a voluntary program that states had to opt into. 

As governor, DeSantis has staunchly refused to expand Medicaid. Currently, the federal government covers 90 percent of the costs of expansion under Obamacare. Republican governors in states such as Ohio and Indiana have opted for the expansion; voters in conservative states such as Missouri and South Dakota have overwhelmingly passed pro-expansion ballot referenda. Medicaid expansion is popular — 54 percent of Florida voters are in favor, according to a recent poll. But DeSantis refuses to budge.

That’s Ron DeSantis’ Florida. Bureaucrats dictate what can be read and said in schools. The government — not women — has a final say in the most intimate and personal decisions someone can make. But poor people seeking healthcare? You’re on your own; go pull yourself up by the bootstraps. 

MILAN SINGH is a first year in Pierson College. His fortnightly column, “All politics is national” discusses national politics: how it affects the reader’s life, and why they should care about it. He can be reached at

Milan Singh is a sophomore in Pierson College. His column, "All politics is national," runs fortnightly.