Florida led the national challenge of the Affordable Care Act and today state lawmakers were asked to seek a delay in implementing federal health care laws because the state isn’t ready yet. Supporters of the new law say not being ready was a political decision.
In October 2010, legislative leaders sent this letter to then Governor Charlie Crist ordering him to put the brakes on any implementation of the Patient Protection Act.
Three months and a new governor later, Rick Scott refused millions in federal money to begin setting up health exchanges. Scott believed the law would be thrown out and if it wasn’t; he made this promise. “State won’t be caught flat-footed. We’ll be ready”, Governor Rick Scott said in February 2011.
State lawmakers were told Friday the state is nowhere near ready. “Were you all aware that if you did nothing we would be in such a bind to make the deadlines?”, asked Perry Thurston, House Democratic Leader
The legislature is being asked to seek a delay in implementing the law. Supporters of the act question why? ”Because there was a philosophy and ideology that this shouldn’t be a law even though it was the law. We don’t have contingency plan”, says Rep Dwight Dudley, R- St. Petersburg.
61 year old Paulette Wilson drove from Miami to beg for coverage now. “With the economy going down is just I had to choose whether or not to have insurance or to live”, says Wilson.
Dozens of provisions of Florida law need to be changed so that insurers can comply with federal law and still write policies in Florida. If lawmakers don’t make changes by April, they’ll likely find themselves back here in federal court on the losing end of another battle over healthcare.