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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Reaction from Florida



Story on today's landmark decision upholding the federal healt care law is here. Reaction from Florida:

Sen. Marco Rubio: “What’s important to remember is that what the Court rules on is whether something is constitutional or not, not whether it’s 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.” Video of Rubio on CNBC.

Sen. Bill Nelson: “A lot of us feel the health-care law wasn’t perfect. But it was needed. Our system was broken and we had to do something.  Insurance companies were refusing to cover people or dropping those who got sick. So, we passed legislation to prevent insurers from running roughshod over people. And today, the Supreme Court upheld most of these reforms. Now, I think it’s time we finish the job of fixing our economy and creating more jobs. “

Gov. Rick Scott: “Today’s 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."

FL Attorney General Pam Bondi: "All of us who are disappointed with the ultimate outcome today cannot lose sight of what we accomplished.  We fought for the principle that the Constitution limits Congress’s power to direct the lives of our people, and on that point, we won. As Chief Justice Roberts wrote in his opinion for the majority:  “The Federal Government does not have the power to order people to buy health
insurance.” "Seven Justices agreed with our position that Congress could not force the States to make the unacceptable choice between losing all our Medicaid benefits or accepting a massive, unaffordable expansion of the Medicaid program. "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 healthcare 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 healthcare law on the basis of Congress’s taxing power."

FL CFO 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.”

FL AG 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." 

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. It’s 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."

U.S. Rep. Allen West, R-Palm Beach Gardens: "The United States Supreme Court has ruled to uphold the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act by extending the power of the United States Congress to tax Americans' behavior.  This is a sad day for Americans, as they will be taxed to pay for benefits they may not need or want as part of the insurance they are forced to buy. With this decision, Congress has been granted infinite taxation power, and there are no longer any limits on what the federal government can tax its citizens to do.  

U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor, D-Tampa: “The approximately 3 million uninsured Floridians will be able receive health insurance on a transparent health exchange of private insurance companies. Small business owners will be eligible for tax credits and be able to access competitive rates through exchanges so that health insurance is affordable for a change. Medicare beneficiaries who are already receiving free wellness checkups will see their benefits improve even more. Other important provisions survive as well, including measures I wrote to tackle Florida’s doctor shortage through more training slots at Florida universities and hospitals, offer new scholarships for the modern health care workforce and improve Medicare for our seniors."

U.S. Rep. Alcee Hastings, D-Miramar: "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 towards putting patients and their doctors, rather than big insurance companies, in charge of an individual’s 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. Frederica Wilson, D-Miami: “In passing health reform, President Obama and a Democratic Congress made history for our country and progress for the American people. Because of the ACA, affordable health care is now a right for all, not a privilege for the few. Today, the Supreme Court affirmed our progress and protected that right, securing a future of health and economic security for working people and their families, students and seniors.”

U.S. Rep. Dan Webster, R-Winter Garden: “While I acknowledge the Supreme Court’s decision, I believe it provides a devastating blow to future economic growth at a time when every new job is needed. The regulations, taxes and unaffordable price tags scattered throughout this law make it much more difficult for small businesses to hire new employees and expand their business. In no way does our work to repeal this law stop here. This decision is a severe set-back to freedom and job-creation, but I will work relentlessly to repeal this invasive law and replace it with common-sense solutions that are affordable and accessible for America’s families, businesses and individuals.  Americans need solutions that promote access to the care they need, from the doctors they choose, at a cost they can afford."

U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan, R-Sarasota: “While the Supreme Court did not declare the President’s government takeover of health care unconstitutional, the law remains unworkable and unaffordable,” said Buchanan, a member of the Health Subcommittee on Ways & Means.  “Congress must work in a bipartisan manner to repeal and replace the health care law with common-sense reforms that lower the cost of health insurance and ensure that the American people can go to the doctor of their choice.”

Florida House Speaker Dean Cannon, R-Winter Park: The Court’s ruling on the law’s 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 don’t comply.  Florida now has a choice, and the Legislature will carefully consider expansion in light of Florida’s 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 Constitution’s limitations on the federal government’s powers.  The President’s legislation infringes on individual liberty in an unprecedented manner by mandating that individuals purchase health insurance they don’t 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."

U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Weston: “As a breast cancer survivor and one of 129 million Americans with a pre-existing condition, I am overjoyed that the Supreme Court upheld the right of every American to have access to quality, affordable health care insurance. Because of the Affordable Care Act, South Floridians like Lainie Schultz, a young woman who was diagnosed with breast cancer two weeks before her 25th birthday, will not be denied the health care coverage she needs because of pre-existing conditions. Thanks to the tax credit in the Affordable Care Act, small businesses like the GBS group in Pembroke Pines are, for the first time, able to offer health care coverage to their employees.

U.S. Rep. Dennis Ross, R-Lakeland: "Justice Roberts was right when he said today that it is not up to the court to save the country from its political choices.  It is up to all of us elected as well as the ultimate arbiters of power, the people, to send this President a clear message in November.  For my part, I remain committed to full repeal, ending the Obamacare tax, and passing patient-centered, doctor-friendly reforms to fix our health care system.  I agree with the four dissenting justices, but what is done is done. It is now time for the people to change what the court would not."

U.S. Rep. Cliff Stearns, R-Ocala: "Although I’m deeply disappointed by this Supreme Court decision, the fight now moves to repealing Obamacare, which means we must defeat President Obama and assemble majorities in the House and Senate to carry out the people’s will. The American people now will face a massive tax increase that started as a mandate, and this tax will fall disproportionately on the working class. "

U.S. Rep. Steve Southerland, R-Panama City: “Although I am disappointed and disagree strongly with the Supreme Court’s decision, by cementing the limitations set by the Commerce Clause, the justices asserted that it’s 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.”

Incoming Florida House Speaker Will Weatherford, R-Wesley Chapel: “I appreciate the Court’s 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 Florida’s 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."

U.S. Rep. Gus Bilirakis, R-Palm Harbor: “Like many Americans, I am extremely disappointed in the Supreme Court’s decision to uphold the President’s health care law, which is bad news for patients, doctors, and our nation’s economy.  The law’s big-government approach to health care does not actually solve our health care problems, will cost trillions of taxpayer dollars without reducing the cost of health care, and adds uncertainty to a struggling economy. I will continue to fight to repeal the entire law and replace it with simple, common sense solutions that will put patients in charge of their own health care decisions and protect consumers. We must reduce the cost of care, and make it more accessible to those who want or need it.” 

[Last modified: Friday, June 29, 2012 1:36pm]


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