Skip to comments.Gov. Rick Scott, Other Florida Officials Re-Thinking Opposition to 'Obamacare'
Posted on 11/19/2012 10:38:04 PM PST by nickcarraway
What a difference an election can make.
Just a week after the re-election of Barack Obama ended all Republican hopes of overturning the new health care law known as " Obamacare," Gov. Rick Scott and other Florida leaders who have steadfastly rejected the idea are now willing to at least talk about implementing it for the state's 3.8 million uninsured.
" Mitt Romney did not win the election," Scott told reporters Friday in Washington D.C., hours before he released a letter to Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius asking for a meeting to discuss implementing the law. "So it's not an option to repeal Obamacare. So my goal now is: focus on what's good for our citizens."
He added: "The official response is going to be: 'I want to sit down with you. I want to see how we can work together to lower health care costs for Floridians.'" But it will be some time before Florida decides on how to implement crucial elements of the Affordable Care Act: setting up an insurance "exchange" and adding lower-income Floridians to the Medicaid program. Incoming House Speaker Will Weatherford and Senate President Don Gaetz wrote Sebelius Thursday night saying they could not yet make a call on whether to start an exchange essentially, a state-run health insurance marketplace for small businesses and individuals.
The law says that if a state refuses to set up an exchange, the federal government will do it. So far, 13 states mostly Democratic and the District of Columbia have officially said they will run their own exchanges. Weatherford and Gaetz wrote that 100 rules and regulations are still being developed by the Obama administration, including guidelines on minimum coverage and benefits. And in his letter Friday, Scott said startup costs "are projected at $92.3 million" through next year, and annual operating costs to the state based on experience in Illinois -- could range from $57.4 million to $88.6 million by 2016.
"We should be looking out for our consumers and we should be looking out for our state and doing what's best for them," said Weatherford, R-Wesley Chapel. "The problem is there are hundreds of unanswered questions that are out there with regard to the implementation to the Affordable Health Care Act. Until we have the answers to those questions, we don't know which plan gives our consumers the most choices."
Insurers are researching and trying to develop plans that work with the new requirements, but they too have a lot of questions, said Michael Garner, executive director of the Florida Association of Health Plans, a trade association for health insurers. They haven't even figured out if it's better for the federal government or the state to run the exchanges, or some sort of partnership.
"Until we get more information, it's too difficult to stipulate which direction is best," Garner said. The federal government counters that states have been offered help in getting the process started, and the deadline to decide on who should run the exchange has been extended from last week to Dec. 14. HHS has provided a blueprint of what a state exchange should look like and offered grants to pay design costs. Florida applied for the money in 2010 under Gov. Charlie Crist, but Scott ordered the state to return the $1 million check. The exchanges are a crucial key to the health care overhaul, which by 2014 will require all adults to either purchase health insurance, enroll in a federally subsidized plan or pay a tax.
Large employers will be required to provide health coverage to employees or pay a fine. Smaller companies, of up to 100 employees, and individuals not covered by an employer would find insurance using the exchange, and lower-income purchasers would qualify for federal subsidies. Plans offered by the exchanges would provide a minimum level of benefits, with limited co-payments and out-of-pocket expenses.
The exchanges must begin enrolling users by October 2013 and be fully operational by Jan. 1, 2014.
Both Weatherford and Gaetz have said they want the Legislature to decide whether the state or federal government should run the insurance exchange, and whether Florida should expand its Medicaid program to cover an estimated 800,000 to 1.3 million low-income individuals who currently earn too much to qualify. In upholding the law in June, the U.S. Supreme Court said states could not be compelled to expand Medicaid eligibility.
Though the feds will pay 100 percent of the cost of the new enrollees, that will drop to 90 percent by 2020. Scott has said the state can't afford the expansion of Medicaid, which state analysts have pegged at about $1 billion but which Scott insists is likely to be higher. Scott also is seeking federal approval to put the state's existing Medicaid patients into managed care like HMOs under a cost-cutting proposal passed by the 2011 Legislature. "Statewide Medicaid managed care is one way we can act immediately to encourage more competition.
You’re right. I suspected that all along.
OMG ! Have even MORE kneecaps been threatened ???
I have to wonder if the 50 States desiring to secede from the District of Criminals will cause them to re-think their position?
I wish all states would tell Obama to go stick it.
The more that don’t the better business climate and more jobs for my state.
Time for a recall effort on Governor Scott.
It is time to get almighty tough with these traitors.
Good thing Republicans took over the house so they could make sure that this is funded.
Communism is here to stay. There is nothing we can do about it. Quit fooling yourselves.
Howell Raines, former editor of The New York Times (until he fell on his sword in the Jayson Blair faux-journalism scandal), warned us in a Conde Nast Portfolio article in October, 2008, that the GOP had already signed off, using American Enterprise Institute, Cato, and other RiNO-oriented think tanks as proxies, on the single-payer/NHS model.
Boehner has been playing Main Street Republicans for suckers ever since the 2010 election. The FIRST thing he did in the 2011 session was to change the entire Republican Caucus agenda from repealing Obamacare to picking a fight over debt limits and budget authority.
It was more important, you see -- because the business community has already signed off on National Death Panels as a way to dump their employee healthcare plans. Of course, executives will still have their swank, and separate, healthcare arrangements. The peasants can shuffle off to the leper colony for all they care.
Economic illiterates and gutless pansies. Republican politicians hard at work...
You’re fooling yourself.
Actions speak louder than words so I believe you are exactly right. It will be the end of modern health care and the long term destruction of our economy. So be it.
Hasten it to its end.
No need for a 70 year experiment in communism that succeeding generations need to suffer through.
Indeed. One possible strategy would be to sign up for 0bamaCare, use it frequently (avoiding any invasive procedures) and file numerous complaints to the politburo about the practitioners. Run it into the ground.
A car insurance exchange (car accidents adversely affect your health); an exchange for federally mandated carbon credits (EPA), because carbon is bad for your health; an exchange for EPA and USDA approved organic food providers; an exchange for federally approved churches that perform 'gay marriages' and dole out free contraceptives; etc...
I do believe the worst will be about the millions demanding useless surgery like butt injections, penile extensions, sex changes bust enhancements, and then the uproar of the no coverage for dental work, especially the free gold teeth.
They will flood the system like looters and find its all but an empty store, much like in the Soviet Union they will stand in line for hours only to buy a single radish.
I do agree though we can move its demise up in a shorter timespan. The fall of the United Socialists States of America will come very soon indeed.
And they do need a couple of socialist states.
You have a good point. We don’t need to do a thing to crash their program. They will do it so fast it will be hard to make our an appointment first.
There, fixed it. :)
I think we’re forming a consensus here. lol
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