Florida Turns down Federal Health Care Money, Awaits Ruling

Arguments in the state’s lawsuit against the Affordable Care Act ended Wednesday and a ruling is set for June.  In the meantime, state leaders are rejecting half a billion dollars to implement the new law.

Solicitor General Donald B. Verrilli, Jr., speaks in front of the Supreme Court in Washington, Tuesday, March 27, 2012, as the court continued hearings on the health care law signed by President Barack Obama. Justices, seated from left are, Sonia Sotomayor, Stephen Breyer, Clarence Thomas, Antonin Scalia, Chief Justice John Roberts, Anthony Kennedy, Ruth Bader Ginsburg Samuel Alito and Elana Kagan. (AP Photo/Dana Verkouteren)

Arguments in the state’s lawsuit against the Affordable Care Act ended Wednesday and a ruling is set for June. In the meantime, state leaders are rejecting half a billion dollars to implement the new law.

If the US Supreme Court rules against Florida and ACA remains the law of the land, the state will have some catching up to do.

They came with signs, and wearing medical masks, storming the governor’s office and breaking in to song.

At the start of the legislative session supporters of the Affordable Care Act begged the governor and legislative leaders to stop fighting the new health care law.

But when session ended earlier this month… Lawmakers sent the governor a budget that rejects half a billion federal dollars to expand Medicaid.

The Affordable Care Act makes available to states billions of dollars for Medicaid and Medicare. In Florida the expansion would allow an extra 1.9 million to receive Medicaid.

Wednesday Florida and 25 other states ended three days of arguments against the new health care law in front of the US Supreme Court.

Governor Rick Scott has been following the proceedings and is confident the state will prevail. “If you listen to what the justices say yesterday it appears that we have a great opportunity for the mandate to be declared unconstitutional which would be a big win for our state.”

But if Florida loses, the state will have to play catch up. Karen Woodall, with the Florida Center for Fiscal and Economic Policy says quality will suffer in the scramble. “It puts us behind the eight ball and we run the risk of not being able to secure the money that is out there to facilitate the changes.”

Most of the money the state has already rejected could be reclaimed if the state acts quickly, but there’s no substitute for lost time.

Not all federal health care money flowing into Florida has to be approved by the state legislature. More than a hundred million dollars has already been given to Florida research facilities and nonprofit health care charities.


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