SSN on Facebook SSN on Twitter SSN on YouTube RSS Feed



Florida Voices: Obamacare Ruling

June 27, 2012 - 6:00pm

A roundup ofelected officials' and business and civic leaders' comments from across Florida on the U.S. Supreme Court ruling Thursday on the Affordable Care Act.

U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Miami

Whats important to remember is that what the court rules on is whether something is constitutional or not, not whether its a good idea.

And while the court has said that the law is constitutional, it remains a bad idea for our economy, and I hope that in the fall we will have a majority here that will not just repeal this law, but replace it with real solutions that will insure more people and cost a lot less money.

U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Orlando

Today's Supreme Court ruling upholding health-care reform means insurance companies can no longer cancel your policy if you get sick.It means you won't be denied care or charged more due to apre-existing condition.And it means your children can stay on the family's policy until they're 26.

Those are just a few of the protections in the health care law the court ruled to be constitutional.

And who would oppose any of this?

Turns out the right-wing extremists do. Immediately after the ruling, they took to the airwaves and Internet to attack the decision -- and to blast anyone, including me, who dared disagree with them."

U.S. Rep. Tom Rooney, R-Tequesta

Obamacare will drive up health-care costs for American families and small businesses and hurt health-care quality for patients. Its going to destroy much-needed jobs, cost taxpayers trillions of dollars, and impose radical new government mandates on individuals and employers. This law is bad for patients, bad for doctors, and the American people still want to see it repealed.

We cannot afford this law. Were going to keep listening to our constituents and continue fighting for full repeal in the House. In November the American people will have an opportunity to send to Washington a senator and a president who are also willing to listen to them and help repeal and replace this entire law.

U.S. Rep. John Mica, R-Winter Park

"Today's ruling is a severe setback to our personal liberty and our basic rights, and I am stunned that this Supreme Court of these United States would issue a ruling with so little regard to the protections which should be preserved under the Constitution, not ignored by the highest court in the land.From the onset, I believed Obamacare was a disaster for this country's well-being and a direct attack on our freedoms. With this decision finalized, I will continue to fight and vote for the law's repeal. Immediately after the verdict was announced, I spoke in front of the Supreme Court about the decision."

U.S. Rep. David Rivera, R-Miami

The job-killing health care law places a heavy burden on job creators and American families. The law imposes new taxes on the American people, wildly grows federal spending and impedes hiring -- things we can ill-afford as our national debt nears $16 trillion and the unemployment rate has been at 8 percent or more for 40 consecutive months. This irresponsible bill imposes onerous costs and regulations on small businesses, guts benefits for seniors and the disabled and leaves future generations holding the bag.

It is in the best interest of our nations economy to repeal the job-killing health care law and replace it with common-sense reforms that address what is wrong with the health insurance system in America. We must pass legislation that lowers costs and protects American jobs, not threatens them. We must move toward a system that welcomes patient choice and flexibility, instead of more government involvement, by ensuring Americans the ability to make medical decisions without bureaucratic interference.

It is time to fully repeal the job-killing, tax-hiking health care law and to implement lasting health care reform that gets Washington out of the way and gives Americans control over their medical decisions.

U.S. Rep. Frederica Wilson, D-Miami Gardens

This decision is a huge victory for the people of District 17 and all across the country. Because of this ruling, everyone in South Florida will benefit from critical patient protections, $1 trillion in savings over the next two decades, better coverage for families -- including preventive care to keep people healthy -- and greater accountability for the insurance industry.

U.S. Rep. Alcee Hastings, D-Miramar

The Supreme Courts ruling today is a real victory for the American people. This decision upholds the principle that all Americans should have access to affordable, quality health care.

Millions of Americans have already benefited from this important piece of legislation. From the 6.6 million young adults who have been able to stay on their parents insurance to the more than 17.6 million children who can no longer be denied coverage. Additionally, 3.25 million seniors in 2011 and 14 million in 2012 have taken advantage of one or more of the free preventative services, while 360,000 small-business owners have utilized the Small Business Health Care Tax Credit to help them provide insurance to 2 million workers. This legislation has been and will continue to make a major difference in our nations health care system.

I have always advocated for access to universal health care with a public option. With the Affordable Care Act, we have taken a huge step toward putting patients and their doctors, rather than big insurance companies, in charge of an individuals health care decisions. While I am pleased that this important legislation was upheld by the Supreme Court, there is still work to be done. I hope that my Republican colleagues will now do their part and end their partisan attacks by putting the interests of Americans health care needs first.

U.S. Rep. Jeff Miller, R-Chumuckla

The Supreme Courts ruling to uphold the individual mandate in Obamacare is a monumental obstruction of personal freedom and liberty. It is a tragedy for patients and health professionals across the nation and a major setback for our free-market system.

"The court reaffirmed in its decision what the administration vehemently denied during the debate of the bill that Obamacare is a massive tax increase on the American people, parading as reform. The presidents health-care law does nothing to reduce the cost of care for working American families and only puts our nation further in debt.

"Now that the Supreme Court has rendered its decision, we will explore every legislative option to repeal and replace this flawed law, putting families and their doctors in charge of medical decisions instead of Washington bureaucrats.

"We need to focus on reducing the cost of the delivery of care, not simply masking it. Reducing the cost of care will help those who are involuntarily uninsured because they cannot afford health insurance.

"The American people deserve better than this, and I will continue work to replace this tax increase with real reform.

U.S. Rep. Steve Southerland, R-Panama City

Although I am disappointed and disagree strongly with the Supreme Courts decision, by cementing the limitations set by the commerce clause, the justices asserted that its not their responsibility to fix the bad policy decisions of Congress. Therefore, it is with strengthened resolve that I look forward to continuing the fight for a full repeal of this destructive law.

I subscribe to the belief that what may be legally permissible is not necessarily morally right. When the president looked the American people in the eye and promised his health care reform law would not raise taxes, it was a flat out falsehood. We now know that his law will do exactly that. I am confident that the American people will not settle for having our personal freedoms diminished or our founding principles dissolved. I am eager to repeal this immoral law and replace it with common-sense, market-based reforms that expand access to quality, affordable health care without expanding the size and scope of the federal government.

Florida Gov. Rick Scott

Todays decision by the Supreme Court of the United States is simply disappointing.The tax question was repeatedly refuted by members of Congress who helped pass this health care takeover. The justices have declared that the central provision of Obamacare is a judicially mandated tax. A new tax, pure and simple. This is just another burden the federal government has put on American families and small businesses.

With the national economy struggling to recover, now is not the time to implement a massive social program that injects nothing but uncertainty and doubt into our economic system. By doing so, they have put up yet another major roadblock to efforts to get people back to work and forced the government into the important relationship between patients and their doctors.

I stand with Justice Kennedy that the entire Act should have been held invalid.

Attorney General Pam Bondi

"The most sobering lesson from this ruling is that our republican system of government only works when our leaders are honest with the American people.

Before Congress passed his health care law, President Obama told us that the insurance requirement was not backed by a tax. And yet, here we are, reading an opinion that upholds the health care law on the basis of Congresss taxing power. It amounts to a $4 billion tax on the American people.

Florida Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam

"Unconstitutional or not, the so-called Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is the wrong policy for reforming health care and the wrong direction for America. Individual liberties and the doctor-patient relationship took a step back today."

Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater

As we sort through the complexity of the recent Supreme Court ruling on the Affordable Health Care Act, two issues of vital concern to all Floridians emerge.

The court made very clear that the overreaching extension of the commerce clause into free-market behavior by this administration was unconstitutional. I applaud their decision in this regard.

I remain deeply troubled, however, that Congress and the Obama administration would use an issue of such importance to the American people to disguise their intentions to add further tax burdens on our fellow citizens. Pushing a tax-and-spend agenda through dissembling and subterfuge is fundamentally dishonest and should not be tolerated in a free and open society.

Florida Insurance Commissioner Kevin McCarty

Our office has previously expressed concerns about several provisions of the Affordable Care Act and the potential for detrimental impacts on the availability and affordability of health insurance. Today, the United States Supreme Courts ruling affirmed the substance of the Affordable Care Act.

With the affirmation of the Affordable Care Act, I remain concerned about the potential for increased health insurance premiums and continued disruption to the stability of the marketplace for many Floridians. Nevertheless, we will work with the Florida Legislature and Govermor Scott to implement the Supreme Courts decision and develop an implementation strategy that minimizes market disruption and allows Floridas health insurers and HMOs to continue to provide coverage in our state.

I would like to commend Florida Governor Rick Scott and Attorney General Pam Bondi for their diligent efforts on behalf of Floridas citizens.

Mark Wilson, President and CEO of the Florida Chamber of Commerce

We recognize the cost of health care continues to rise. The United States continues to spend more per capita on health care than any other country and the Florida Chambers Small Business Index Survey consistently ranks increasing health care costs as one of the leading concerns of small-business owners throughout our state.

But we remain deeply concerned that Obamacare is flawed. As we move forward, it is important that we roll up our sleeves and work toward more meaningful reform that doesnt hurt employers, impact employee wages, kill jobs and increase red tape. True reform that makes health care affordable and accessible is needed not an unrealistic and burdensome Washington mandate.

Tom Feeney, President and CEO, Associated Industries of Florida

As we consider the reactions to the U.S. Supreme Courts decision to uphold the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), it is clear that the debate will continue and that todays decision left unresolved many critical questions about the legal and regulatory frameworks for the future of health care in Florida. Now, more than ever, Florida needs the smartest and most capable policy minds preparing for our states health care future.

Earlier this week, AIF announced its health care reform initiative, which includes a growing group of health-care thought leaders and employers who have been working together for the past few months to cast a vision for a different kind of health care system in Florida. During the months leading up to the election and into 2013, we will monitor developments related to the PPACA and continue to facilitate dialogue on health care policy.

Bill Herrle, NFIB/Florida Executive Director

Floridas small-business owners have been fighting this battle alongside the Florida attorney generals office from day one, and after months of uncertainty and frustration, the courts decision is a grave disappointment to them.

The increasing costs of health care are the No. 1 concern for the small-business community, and this flawed law does nothing to address cost. While its devastating to lose this battle, the fight isnt over. NFIB and our members are ready now to engage Congress and pursue a real health-care solution -- a solution that gives employers and their families access to quality, affordable health care, and doesnt violate the U.S. Constitution.

Florida Medical Association President Miguel A. Machado

The Florida Medical Association (FMA) believes that the health care system in our country should be focused on the needs of individual patients.

The FMA will continue to advocate for policies that increase patient access and choice, enhance the patient-physician relationship, address health care fraud, and eliminate costly regulations. The Florida Medical Association remains concerned that the surviving Act weakens the Medicare program, fails to substantively address medical liability reform, and dramatically increases the regulatory burden on physicians and patients. These issues hinder access to quality health care and the FMA looks forward to working with elected officials to repeal those provisions that are harmful to our patients.

Mark Faulkner, President and CEO Baptist Health Care

This is a very complex ruling on a very complex law, and we will better understand the implications in the days ahead. But I think this ruling on the legislation now provides clarity and a path for transformation of the health care industry.

We fully recognize that the health care industry must change and make health care more affordable. This legislation is part of it, but a lot of the cost containment will be market driven.

The two aims of the legislation are cost control and coverage for the uninsured. And we are beginning to see some cost controls with the key government payers (Medicare and Medicaid) reducing payments.

So the wheels are already in motion for reducing the costs associated with the delivery of health care.

Michael Garner, President and CEO of the Florida Association of Health Plans

There are still many unanswered questions and issues that must be addressed now that we know the U.S. Supreme Courts decision. Like many others, we are still reading the opinion and working to ascertain its full impact on health care in Florida.

In the coming months, we hope that any policy decisions relating to implementation of the Act are centered on individuals and employers -- the purchasers of health care -- and address the factors that drive up cost and, ultimately, impact quality and access to care.

We hope to be a resource to policymakers, as they decide the ultimate path and best course of action for Florida following todays announcement.

Florida Chapter of American Academy of Pediatrics/Florida Pediatric Society president, Dr. Mobeen Rathore

On behalf of the pediatricians, children and families in Florida, we are hopeful that such gains experienced across the U.S. will be preserved and extended to our children and health care providers.

We are anxious to have other reforms put into place such as health insurance exchanges for consumers to choose a health plan thats right for them.

State Senate President-designate Don Gaetz, R-Niceville

I respect the decision of the Supreme Court, but I agree with Justice Kennedy and others who found the law unconstitutional in its entirety. More importantly, I am convinced the law is detrimental to our common goal of affordable, quality health care.

The courts 110-page opinion is in some ways as complicated as the law itself. Like others we will be tweezering through the ruling to fully understand all of the implications for Florida taxpayers, patients, providers and businesses.

While this law remains on the books, states will confront many difficult decisions and in an effort to fully understand all of the implications and costly burdens. Foremost among these difficult decisions will be the choice the court appears to have given states regarding participating in the mammoth Medicaid expansion authorized by the federal law. We have reason to be concerned about the impact of this expansion. Medicaid enrollment will double in the next few years; the states discretion in program design will be further curtailed; and even with a temporary enhancement of federal funds, the states financial burden for Medicaid will increase significantly."

Senate President Mike Haridopolos, R-Merritt Island

I am deeply disappointed in the Supreme Courts decision today to uphold the majority of President Obamas federal health care law. Todays decision does not change the fact that the federal takeover of health care is bad for Floridas economy and bad for health care. A one-size-fits-all solution handed down by Washington, D.C., is not the answer to health care, and Congress must pursue a complete repeal of the federal health care law.

In Florida, it is now more important than ever that the Health Care Freedom Act is adopted. This constitutional amendment, if approved by Florida voters in November, would ensure that Floridians have the freedom they need to make their own health care decisions, independent of a government-mandated health care law. I remain steadfast in believing that this constitutional amendment must be adopted to ensure that Floridians individual liberties in health care are protected.

Senate Democratic Leader Nan Rich, D-Weston

I was very gratified to hear that President Barack Obamas national health-care reform law was upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court today. This is a great victory not only for Floridians who already have private insurance, but for the almost 4 million Floridians who have none many because they never had it, or lost it when they lost their jobs.

With the law now validated, I call on Governor Rick Scott and Attorney General Pam Bondi, along with the Republican leadership in this state, to stop wasting taxpayer money and respect the Supreme Courts ruling. The future of Floridas uninsured 21 percent of our residents - now rests in their hands.

With the validation of this law, the health and safety of Floridians and their children is no longer in doubt. Insurance companies will no longer have unchecked power to cancel or deny coverage because of pre-existing conditions, or charge women more than men.

Almost a quarter of a million young people will continue to be able to remain on their parents policies until they turn 26. And hundreds of thousands of seniors will continue to save $600 a year on their prescription drugs.

In addition, 2.5 million Floridians who have received preventive screenings such as mammograms and colonoscopies at no cost will continue to receive those lifesaving benefits thanks to the Supreme Courts ruling.

And by August, almost 1.3 million Floridians will receive a rebate because their insurance company spent too much of their premium on administrative costs or CEO bonuses.

The Affordable Health Care Act was never about denying liberty or choice. It is all about liberty and choice. It is all about improving the quality of every Americans life, every Floridians life, and to make those improvements affordable and within reach.

Unfortunately, the conservative Republican leadership in Tallahassee and Washington has fought this reform every step of the way. Since he first took office, the governor has returned $4.5 million and refused to pursue more than $106 million in federal money to implement the health care law. This isnt his money to ignore or reject. This is Floridians money every dollar was sent to Washington by Floridas taxpayers and should be returned for their health care benefits.

Whether the governor likes it or not, the Affordable Health Care Act is the law of the land, and he and the Republican legislative leadership are obliged to follow it.

Florida Sen. John Thrasher, R-St. Augustine

Today, the Affordable Care Act was upheld and defined as a tax on all Americans. This is a sad day in our American history.

We must make every effort possible to fight this and repeal this measure. Big government must stay out of the private medical lives of Floridians and all Americans. We need more meaningful health care solutions that will allow Floridians to have access to quality care, and federal mandates to states are not the answer or solution we need.

The months ahead will be laborious and telling as we digest this monumental ruling at the state level and determine the best course of action for Florida.

Florida House Speaker-designate Will Weatherford, R-Wesley Chapel

I appreciate the courts ruling on the Medicaid expansion mandate. States will now be able to choose whether to expand their Medicaid programs. A state which cannot afford or chooses not to expand its Medicaid program will not risk losing its entire, existing program.

However, the decision that the other provisions of the law are constitutional is disappointing. While I respect the decision of this co-equal branch of government, I believe the Act fundamentally and improperly changes the relationship between the federal government and the people.

This Act was intended to increase access to care and drive down costs, but will likely do neither. It burdens Floridas businesses which are struggling to grow. Individuals and families are deprived of both their money and their liberty because the law forces them to use their hard-earned dollars to purchase an insurance policy chosen by the federal government.

I commend the efforts by Attorney General Pam Bondiandformer Attorney General Bill McCollum in pursuing this worthy litigation. We in the House will work with the Senate and the governor to make the many difficult decisions necessitated by this legislation. It is my hope that Congress revisits the law, and repeals or amends it to truly achieve better health care access and reduced costs for all Americans.

House Speaker Dean Cannon, R-Winter Park

The courts ruling on the laws Medicaid provision is appropriate. It is unconstitutional for the federal government to mandate this type of Medicaid expansion and threaten states with the loss of the entire program if they dont comply. Florida now has a choice, and the Legislature will carefully consider expansion in light of Floridas other priorities and within the confines of a balanced budget.

However, the decision to uphold the rest of the law is a great disappointment for all who care about our Constitutions limitations on the federal governments powers. The presidents legislation infringes on individual liberty in an unprecedented manner by mandating that individuals purchase health insurance they dont want. The legislation contains expensive and intrusive federal government mandates on the private sector that will introduce an environment of instability and uncertainty that promises to kill jobs and send insurance costs through the roof. Furthermore, the legislation infringes on state sovereignty by federalizing a traditional state function, the regulation of insurance, and expecting states to act as agents for the federal regulator.

"The road leading to today's ruling has been long and difficult, and I am grateful to Attorney General Pam Bondi and former Attorney General Bill McCollum for their tremendous leadership in advocating for the federalist system of government created by our Constitution.

Access to quality health care is an important goal; however, this federal law is poorly designed to reach that goal. It is my hope that Congress will reconsider its passage, and that the federal and state governments will work together to empower patients and correct the flaws in the health care system, starting with those created by government.

Florida Rep. Doug Holder, R-Sarasota

It has been 828 days since the president signed into law what has now become known, to millions of American families, as Obamacare. But now, a new clock has started for what very well may be one of the largest tax increases in American history.

With the U.S. Supreme Courts ruling earlier today that the individual mandate will become a tax, we must do everything in our control to repeal this measure and put the power back in the hands of individual Americans.

Florida House Health and Human Services Democratic ranking member, Rep. Mia Jones, D-Jacksonville

Todays Supreme Court ruling has solidified one of the single most important pieces of legislation in the history of our countrys health care system, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. This legislation ensures access to affordable, quality health care for every American.

In Florida, many have already felt the benefits of this law. Seniors have saved more than $245 million on their prescriptions and checkups. Insurance companies have been prevented from setting arbitrary lifetime caps on benefits. More than 224,000 young adults have gained insurance coverage under their parents' policies, while many cancer patients and others have kept health coverage despite pre-existing conditions. And countless people have gained access to health insurance that they would otherwise have not been able to afford.

The court has spoken, the Affordable Care Act has been declared constitutional. So today, I urge Governor Rick Scott to act in all due haste to fully implement this program throughout the state of Florida.

Democratic ranking member, Health and Human Services Access Subcommittee, Rep. Steve Perman, D-Boca Raton

Todays U.S. Supreme Court decision to uphold the Affordable Care Act is a landmark ruling in favor of quality health care in America. As a primary contact health care provider for over 30 years, I have seen firsthand the dramatic impact that escalating health care costs have had on middle-class families. We are the only nation that forces citizens into potential bankruptcy because of illness. Moving forward, I believe that todays decision is not only humane but it is the right one for our economy.

Florida Rep. Mark Pafford, D-West Palm Beach

"More than two years ago, President Obama signed the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act into law. It stands as the greatest single step in generations toward ensuring access to affordable, quality health care for every American, regardless of where they live or how much money they make.

"This year, I sponsored legislation that would have taken the first step in Florida toward creating a health benefits exchange as is required of our state under the Affordable Care Act. Sadly, arrogance and narrow-mindedness of Floridas current political leadership have left Florida way behind the rest of the country in efforts to provide quality health care.

Outright defiance of federal law by Florida Governor Rick Scott and Attorney General Pam Bondi has resulted in the abandonment of millions of federal dollars that would have been available to help Floridians get the health care they need. Now, Floridas government must rush to begin planning the exchange and to address the issue of expanding the state Medicaid program to include more of the insured. They should be embarrassed by their conduct in denying Floridas most vulnerable and taxpaying residents the right to health care. Shame on them.

Florida House Democratic Caucus Leader Ron Saunders, D-Key West

Governor Scotts administration has refused to accept millions of federal dollars that would have been available to help Floridians get the health care they need. In light of today's U.S. Supreme Court ruling regarding the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, it is now vitally important that Governor Scott fully and expeditiously implement what has now been upheld as the law of the land.

Sarasota GOP Chairman Joe Gruters

I was initially both sick and angry with the Supreme Court's decision this morning to rule Obamacare constitutional. Now, I'm motivated. Obamacare's fate is now in our hands. It is time that we all come together to ensure the defeat of Barack Obama and Obamacare in November.

In 2010 the tea party movement was born as a reaction to the overreach of the federal government, and conservatives replaced liberals across the country. Just hours ago, the Supreme Court decision to uphold Obamacare has woken that giant once again and since the release of their decision, our local Party has been flooded with both volunteers and donations.

Santa Rosa County Democratic Executive Committee Chairwoman Deborah Nelson

"I was disappointed. I think what I want to say is that we the people are now officially serfs of the corporate order. Chief Justice Roberts has turned out to be the corporate shill that everybody said he was all along. I am very disappointed.

"I think it's a dark day in American history. This is a basic question of freedom. They have ruled that we can now be forced to buy a private product, is what it comes down to. This a very roundabout, foolish way to solve a major problem.

"The solution to the problem was Medicare for all, single payer health care. That as a public service was the smart way to do it. They chose not to do that. They chose to involve the corporate side of it. This is the result. We are basically now forced to buy a private product, and it's just outrageous.

"We need to focus on reducing the cost of the delivery of care, not simply masking it. Reducing the cost of care will help those who are involuntarily uninsured because they cannot afford health insurance.

"The American people deserve better than this, and I will continue work to replace this tax increase with real reform.

Comments are now closed.

Live streaming of WBOB Talk Radio, a Sunshine State News Radio Partner.