There not going down without a fight. Members of Florida Tea Parties are asking state lawmakers to continue the fight against the Affordable Care Act.
“This debate is in fact about a federal government that has broken its constitutional bonds.”
The outspoken crowd, attended the first meeting of a state senate committee formed to implement the new health care laws.
“The American Constitution which you just swore an oath to uphold and defend has been contorted, hijacked and reduced,” said John Knapp.
“Alexander Hamilton tells us in Federalist Paper 78, no legislative act contrary to the constitution can be valid,” said Lawyer KrisAnne Hall
“We ask you to say no to the federal mandate and move to deal with our health care and health insurance issues under the authority of the state and not under federal dictate,” said Pastor James Hall.
It may seem the petitioners are fighting a losing battle. This summer the US Supreme Court upheld the law and last month President Barack Obama was reelected. But the state does have some say over how the law is implemented.
The first choice for lawmakers is whether or not to set up a state health care exchange. The feds have set a December 14th deadline.
“One thing I’ve learned about federal deadlines is they get extended,” said Senator Joe Negron.
Senator Joe Negron chairs the committee on the Affordable Care Act. Negron is one of the most libertarian members of the legislature. He’s glad the Tea Party is voicing concerns. “I think it’s very helpful when citizens come forward to share their point of view with us, so I was pleased they were there.”
Over their objections, most of the law will go into effect without state approval. The biggest decision the Tea Party could influence is whether or not to expand Florida’s Medicaid roles.
And that expansion could cost the state 330 million dollars next year. The federal government is offering to help pay for most of the expansion through 2024, but lawmakers worry about how the state would keep Medicaid funded after that.