In fighting health care law, Florida rejects millions in federal dollars
Florida already leads a lawsuit challenging the federal health care law, but state officials are going a step further and ignoring the law almost entirely — rejecting millions of federal dollars to provide health care for retirees, seniors, children and people with disabilities.
So far this year, Gov. Rick Scott and the Republican-led Legislature have returned or refused to spend at least $19 million in federal dollars associated with implementing the health care law. Scott also has stopped any state planning for the creation of mandated health care exchanges, which will allow consumers to comparison shop for health care plans.
The decisions put Florida at odds with conservative governors in Texas, Indiana and Wisconsin, who are fighting the constitutionality of the heath care law on one hand and planning for it on the other.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit in Atlanta is scheduled to hear arguments Wednesday in the suit pitting 26 states against the federal government.
"Like a lot of other states, Florida is involved in the lawsuit itself, but there's a big difference," said Eddie Vale, a spokesperson for the Washington-D.C.-based nonprofit Know Your Care, established to educate people about the federal law. "While other states are suing, they are still going ahead with passing regulations that are necessary, working with Health and Human Services where necessary to bring the benefits of the federal health care law to their residents."