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House softens opposition to Senate health care plan as governor escalates it

Hours after the Florida Senate leaders thought they were addressing House criticism by offering up a modified FHIX health insurance plan, Gov. Rick Scott squelched their optimism by calling the proposal a tax increase that will "grow government."

“Florida’s economy is growing and this year we have over a $1 billion budget surplus,'' Scott said in a statement released by his office. "The Senate’s plan to expand Medicaid under Obamacare will cost Florida taxpayers $5 billion over 10 years."

He said "a budget that keeps Florida’s economy growing will cut taxes and give Floridians back more of the money they earn, not inevitably raise taxes in order to implement Obamacare and grow government." 

Scott's comments contrasted with the tone offered by Rep. Jose Oliva, R-Miami, a top House lieutenant and vocal critic of the Senate's health insurance plan.  

"It’s certainly moving in the right direction,'' he told the Herald/Times. "I do think that they are starting to move in the direction that we would hope they would move to. It will be interesting to see if the Senate will take up real cost cutting issues. The crisis in health care begins at the cost part of that equaton. Until we address costs there will never be enough expansion as those costs continue to rise." 

House leaders say they want to reduce the cost of health are by injecting competition into the health care arena with programs that eliminate certificate of need for hospital programs, allows for ambulatory surgical centers to compete with expensive hospital care, requires hospitals to to publish price lists, and allows nurse practitioners to prescribe medication and bypass physicians.