Gov. Rick Scott issued the following statement regarding the U.S. Supreme Court ruling today on the Affordable Care Act:
“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.
“I stand with Justice Kennedy that the entire act should have been held invalid.”
Incoming House Speaker Will Weatherford (R-Wesley Chapel) predicted the ruling will leave people with less insurance, not more, but gave no indication what role Florida is likely to go on Medicaid reform. Here is his statement:
“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.
“I commend the efforts by Attorney General Pam Bondi and former Attorney General Bill McCollum in pursuing this worthy litigation. We in the House will work with the Senate and the Governor to make the many difficult decisions necessitated by this legislation. It is my hope that Congress revisits the law, and repeals or amends it to truly achieve better health care access and reduced costs for all Americans.”
House Speaker Dean Cannon agreed with the court's decision on Medicaid but said he was disappointed in the rest of the ruling. Here's his statement:
“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.
"The road leading to today's ruling has been long and difficult, and I am grateful to Attorney General Pam Bondi and former Attorney General Bill McCollum for their tremendous leadership in advocating for the federalist system of government created by our Constitution.
“Access to quality health care is an important goal; however, this federal law is poorly designed to reach that goal. It is my hope that Congress will reconsider its passage, and that the federal and state governments will work together to empower patients and correct the flaws in the health care system, starting with those created by government.”