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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  • by William Location: Fountain on Mar 30, 2012 at 03:25 PM
    Even if the Supreme Court rules this unconstitutional act as being constitutional, there is one thing citizens can do to nullify it. If they are empaneled to sit on a jury for someone accused of not paying the penalty, tax, etc for refusing to buy insurance, they can simply disregard the judge's instructions and vote NOT GUILTY. The jury system was created in order to give citizens the power to protect one another from tyrannical government as much as it was to interpret facts. The Fully Informed Juror's Association explains the powers of a juror.
    • reply
      by Anon on Mar 31, 2012 at 08:39 AM in reply to William
      You do realize that this would be along the lines of a breach of contract and not criminal intent, right? I'm implying there won't be a jury, it'll be strictly lawyers and a judge.
  • by George Location: Panama City on Mar 30, 2012 at 08:13 AM
    It's fairly simple to see what the plan is. Feds take the money from the States and only give it back to them if they're willing to play the Feds game. In the end we will all be slaves to the Feds. I can see why a poor country could try Socialism; however, I don't see how the people in this country would be stupid enough to. I guess the sit on your behind and hold hand out crowd has won at last. Oh well, I'm old enough it won't affect me. The young folks are going to pay an awful price.
  • by Brian Location: Panama City on Mar 30, 2012 at 06:47 AM
    Good. I'm glad that Florida told the Federal government to take a hike. Regardless of the violations of the 10th Amendment which forbid the Federal government from involving itself in State affairs, this Federal outlay is a bad idea because it comes with all kinds of stipulations and conditions. States that accept Federal money are bound by these conditions to act a certain way and sometimes have to use their own State money to match the Federal dollars. This is how the Federal government controls States.
  • by JW Location: Lynn Haven on Mar 29, 2012 at 04:11 PM
    Irresponsible and ridiculous! In the military it is said, “Prior planning prevents Poor Performance!” Now we know why Florida’s economy is lagging behind the rest of the country. Florida law makers are such a backwards lot. With 3,742,417 (2011 figures) uninsured out of the state’s total population of 18,917,356 why are our lawmakers stuck with their heads in the sand!
    • reply
      by George on Mar 30, 2012 at 08:19 AM in reply to JW
      I guess you haven't been out of Florida for a while or you'd realize we're better off than most States. By the way, in the military, I never saw a 2,700 page regulation published in an attempt to obfuscate what was in it.
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