Supporters of the health care law point out that the increased spending is a small fraction of what the state is already paying for Medicaid, and the expansion’s goal is to reduce the number of uninsured Florida residents while driving down overall health care costs.
However the state decides to move forward, lawmakers already have placed a constitutional amendment on the ballot that would prohibit individuals or employers from being forced to obtain health insurance or from being penalized for not doing so.
The ballot initiative, which needs 60 percent support to pass, is unlikely to have any real impact, however, because federal law supersedes state law.
But it could bring the state and federal government back together in a courtroom, a battle that Senate President Mike Haridopolos welcomes.
“I think the voters of Florida will support that measure, and I think it’s the right thing to do,” Haridopolos, R-Merritt Island, said.
Scott, a former owner of a chain of hospitals, started his political climb in 2009 when he formed Conservatives for Patients’ Rights, a group that opposed the health care law.
He then led the fight against it in Florida with Bondi, who continued the lawsuit filed by former Attorney General Bill McCollum.
“We cannot lose sight of what we accomplished,” Bondi said. “We fought for the principle that the Constitution’s limits on Congress are very real, and they affect the lives of people, and on that point we won.”
Times/Herald writers Steve Bousquet, Mary Ellen Klas and Brittany Davis contributed to this report, which included information from the News Service of Florida.