State grasping at how to implement health care law for its own employees
Though Gov. Rick Scott fought the law since its infancy and Attorney General Pam Bondi took the matter all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, Florida lawmakers are now awkwardly having to comply with key provisions of the Affordable Care Act — including offering health insurance to thousands of additional state workers.
"The budget we proposed includes the mandatory portions of the president's new health care law, which means the state needed to provide coverage for state employees or pay a per-employee penalty to the federal government," said Melissa Sellers, the governor's spokeswoman.
How the state implements the federal health care law for its 160,000 employees is a separate question from whether lawmakers decide to expand the state's Medicaid program to cover additional Floridians.
Some work already has occurred, and some is getting started.
Big changes come in 2014. First, new taxes and fees are expected to increase Florida's insurance costs by $20.4 million.
In addition, thousands of temporary state workers may now be eligible for insurance. That could cost an additional $29 million next year.