Strange bedfellows in the House
The Florida House spent Thursday afternoon debating the merits of its plan to offer expanded health coverage to the uninsured, and as expected, Democrats tried and failed to secure passage of only the plan backed by Republican Gov. Charlie Crist. It was an odd scene as Republicans clung to their own proposal, which includes a 15-member corporation and a marketing approach aimed more at small employers than employees, and which Crist and the Senate oppose.
Crist's champions were not his fellow Republicans but Democrats, chiefly Reps. Loranne Ausley and Jack Seiler. Democrats complained that the Republican plan, championed by Rep. Aaron Bean, R-Fernandina Beach, has a nearly total lack of consumer protection and would invite "bad actors and bottom dwellers" to prey on the uninsured poor, as Rep. Dan Gelber put it. Bean said the House plan (HB 7081) has more options for consumers, and it was approved as an amendment on a 74-40 vote. A final vote will be taken later.