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Orange County GOP lawmakers skip delegation meeting on Obamacare


Republican representatives and senators from Orange County apparently weren't too keen on the topic of the latest delegation meeting: the Affordable Care Act.

Not one GOP lawmaker from Orlando showed up to the meeting in Orlando Monday night to discuss Obamacare. They reportedly missed a great deal of public testimony encouraging the legislature to accept federal Medicaid expansion dollars to reduce the number of uninsured, according to a press release from the Oraneg County Democratic Party.

All six Republican members of the delebate submitted paperwork asking to be officially excused from the meeting. The eight Democrats representing Orange County attended the meeting, the news release said.

Here is the full press release:

The Orange County Legislative Delegation held its official public meeting on the issue of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act last night in Downtown Orlando at the Orange County Administration Center. While the implementation of the new healthcare law remains the central focus of Republican criticism across Florida and the country, GOP legislators made it clear they were unwilling to come to the table to hear from local leaders or the public on the issue.

A roll call of legislators revealed that each and every Republican member had asked to be excused from the public discussion. In contrast, Democratic members were all present.

Discouraged by her GOP colleagues’ absence, delegation Chairman Geraldine Thompson said, "I am disappointed that our Republican members have decided to excuse themselves from this important discussion on the Affordable Care Act."

Public comments were all in favor of Florida accepting federal funds from the law to expand Medicaid coverage in the state to over 1 million uninsured Floridians. Business leaders, health insurance companies, and hospital groups also spoke in favor of the expansion.

Members of the Orange County Delegation excused from attending:

  • -Senator Andy Gardiner (R-Orlando)
  • -Representative Tom Goodson (R-Titusville) 
  • -Senator Alan Hays (R-Umatilla)
  • -Representative Bryan Nelson (R-Apopka)
  • -Representative Stephen Precourt (R-Orlando)
  • -Senator Kelli Stargel (R-Lakeland)

Members of the Orange County Delegation present:

  • -Senator Geraldine Thompson (D-Orlando)
  • -Representative Bruce Antone (D-Orlando)
  • -Representative Linda Stewart (D-Orlando)
  • -Senator Darren Soto (D-Kissimmee)
  • -Representative Randolph Bracy (D-Ocoee)
  • -Representative Victor Torres (D-Orlando)
  • -Representative Karen Castor Dentel (D-Maitland)
  • -Representative Joe Saunders (D-Orlando)