Americans for Prosperity, the conservative advocacy group affiliated with the billionaire Koch brothers, doesn't like Gov. Rick Scott and legislative leaders' new, more conciliatory tone when it comes to implementing the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.
Scott told the Associated Press last week that he is dropping his staunch opposition to the health care law, and he sent the federal government a letter on Friday saying he wanted to start a conversation on the topic.
For months, new House Speaker Will Weatherford and Senate President Don Gaetz have said they want to study the issues and decide what is best for Floridians. They sent their own letter last week saying they needed more information from the federal government before deciding whether on not to implement a health exchange under the new law. Gaetz announced today that he will appoint a special committee on the health care law.
Americans for Prosperity, who has been affiliated with the tea party movement, doesn't want these Republican lawmakers to cave.
"AFP is extremely disappointed in leaders in Florida suggesting that the Sunshine state should create a health insurance exchange" said Slade O'Brien, the organization's Florida state director, via a news release. "An exchange will increase insurance premiums on consumers and taxes on hardworking families. Florida's best intentions will be masked by the federal government's onerous requirements."
Americans for Prosperity wants Scott to join other governors who have said their states will not create a health exchange. According to the group, that list includes Texas Gov. Rick Perry, South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, Ohio Gov. John Kasich and Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal.
Here is the full news release:
Tallahassee, Florida--Today Americans for Prosperity (AFP) the nation's largest and most effective advocate for economic freedom released the following statement calling on state leaders to reject the state-based health insurance exchanges.
"AFP is extremely disappointed in leaders in Florida suggesting that the Sunshine state should create a health insurance exchange" said Slade O'Brien, AFP's Florida State Director. "An exchange will increase insurance premiums on consumers and taxes on hardworking families. Florida's best intentions will be masked by the federal government's onerous requirements."
Multiple governors have announced that they will not create an exchange. This list now includes Mike Pence (IN), John Kasich (OH), Robert Bentley (AL), Bobby Jindal (LA), Sam Brownback (KS), Rick Perry (TX), Nikki Haley (SC), Nathan Deal (GA), Robert McDonnell (VA) and Jay Nixon (MO). AFP supports these steps. However, last week statements from Representative Weatherford, Senator Gaetz and Governor Scott suggested that Florida is not on the same path.
"Numerous governors across the country are joining together to send a strong message to Washington to reject these flawed exchanges" O'Brien continued. "Weatherford, Gaetz, and Scott's statements sends the exact wrong signal. Florida should not agree to be the de-facto administrator of the federal government's rules, regulations and mandates. In light of the recent election, it is clearly now up to the states to get our fiscal house in order. Succumbing to Washington largesse and regulation is the wrong path for Florida."
The federal government is offering unlimited grants to states to create an exchange between now and the end of 2014. All exchanges must be self-funding starting in 2015. Each governor must notify the federal government by December 14, 2012, of his or her decision whether to create a state-based health insurance exchange, defer to the federal government or partner on a hybrid-exchange.
"Federal funds are flowing freely to buy state compliance, but state budgets will take the hit in two short years. Florida's leaders are showing a real lack of resolve exchanging health care freedom for these temporary funds." said Nicole Kaeding, AFP state policy manager. "Creating an exchange puts state taxpayers on the hook for millions of dollars every year. Florida should reject these bloated bureaucracies."