Florida Officials May Be Getting Serious About Health Care Reform Law

Nov 13, 2012

Gov. Rick Scott has to start implementing health care reform in Florida.
Credit Gage Skidmore /Flickr

Last week, Floridians voted down Amendment 1 -- an amendment that basically added anti-health care reform language into our state Constitution. Specifically, the amendment would have made it illegal to implement the individual mandate portion of the Affordable Care Act in Florida.

However, many experts said that even if it did pass, Florida's Amendment 1 simply could not overrule a federal law, which was also upheld as constitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court.

What the failure of this amendment did accomplish, though, was that it took away any last hope from Florida officials looking to further hold off implementing the health care reform law in Florida.

With President Obama's re-election, which further minimized any chance that the health care law would be overturned, officials are going to have to start considering the future of Florida with the health care law in place.

The Palm Beach Post reported recently that this actually might be happening.

“Just saying ‘no’ is not an answer,” [Gov. Rick Scott] said in a statement released by his press office late Friday. “We need to focus on how Obamacare affects each of our families,” he said, adding he is concerned about the impact for cost, access and quality of care.

“I am looking forward to working with legislators and others on specific ways to address these issues,” he said.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has given states reason to set up and operate the online marketplaces where consumers will buy insurance starting next fall. States with their own exchanges will have more leeway to decide how much coverage plans sold on the exchanges must offer. More generous base benefits likely would raise the cost of premiums, though.

“I am concerned about how it affects patients, jobs and taxes on Floridians,” Scott said.

Right now, Scott (and others) have until December 14 to show the federal government that they are on their way to creating a health insurance exchange. 

If Florida officials are unable or unwilling to do this, the federal government is required to step in and create the exchange for the state.