Ideological differences are a hallmark of American politics. That is hardly a secret, especially in these times of harsh political partisanship.

But Gov. Rick Scott and the Republican-dominated Legislature reached a new low when they thumbed their noses at some $110 million available from the federal government to help with healthcare costs – in a state that is broke and resorting to  draconian measures to stay afloat.

They made no secret of the reason: objection to the Affordable Health Care Act which Congress passed last year and President Barack Obama signed into law. Florida is among states challenging the constitutionality of the measure.

This is a classic case of what happens when unyielding ideologues are confronted with reality. Their choice was to stand their ground and refuse the money, or decide not to go after what is available, or even return what is given, regardless of the consequences for the people who elected them to office and who badly need the services that would have been funded with the grants.

Some of the money that was available would have helped in areas such as cancer prevention, educating young people about pregnancy and HIV, funding centers that connect the elderly and the disabled with services, and long-term care counseling.

It should be inconceivable that the state’s leaders would put partisanship above those needs of Floridians but it happened. The tragedy is that not enough residents are protesting this sort of outrageous behavior.