Florida’s Governor and Attorney General were caught by surprise with today’s Supreme Court decision upholding the Affordable Care Act. Both had predicted in recent days that it would be overturned. As Mike Vasilinda tells us, Florida has been at the center of the health care lawsuit since the beginning.
Within minutes of the health care act being signed into law, then-Attorney General Bill McCollum was filing the law suit that was finally decided by the U.S. Supreme Court.
“This is not lawful. It may have passed congress, but there are three branches of Government,” former Attorney General McCollum said in 2010.
Months later, a Federal judge in Pensacola was one of the first to rule most of the act unconstitutional. The current Attorney General, Pam Bondi, campaigned saying she would continue the lawsuit.
“And I will take on the federal government’s healthcare takeover.”
The Governor and Cabinet took a break from their clemency board duties as the decision was being announced. A few minutes later, Pam Bondi appeared visibly shaken by the decision.
“[I’m] surprised, um, shocked,” Bondi said. “The court did say, however, that they cannot do this under the commerce clause.”
Then, three hours later, the Attorney General was claiming partial victory.
“We also learned that there are enforceable limits on Congress’s power to force the states through the use of the spending power,” she said.
But details on the state’s options remain sketchy. Both Bondi and Governor Rick Scott call the act a tax on Floridians.
“If you look at every government program in the world, they over-promise, they run out of money, they under-pay providers, and then that rations care,” Scott said. “On top of that, as bad as it’s going to be for patients, it’s going to be just as bad for taxpayers. We’re not going to be able to afford this.”
The full impact of the decision could take days to sort out.