She said she was saved by being enrolled in Medicaid. The struggling economy has made her question voting for Obama again but when told Romney wants to repeal the new healthcare law, which would help millions of people like her, she changed her mind.
Obama and his allies have been criticized for poorly selling the public on the need for a broad overhaul of the healthcare system and reasoned that as more people understand the benefits, approval will rise. But two years after Obama signed the bill into law, there has been little sign of that. Republicans captured the emotion, and the Supreme Court decision two weeks ago has reignited that passion.
Already, millions of dollars in TV ads, some of them misleading or false, have crowded the airwaves in Florida and opponents show no sign of letting up.
The heart of the law is the individual mandate, which requires most Americans to carry health insurance or pay a fee or tax. Although the mandate originated in conservative circles and is part of the Massachusetts healthcare law enacted while Romney was governor, Romney and other Republicans have cast it a broad encroachment on personal liberty.
The high court upheld the mandate under the taxing authority of the federal government.
But the court invalidated penalties states would face for not implementing other changes of the law. Those include establishing a Web-based marketplace where people can shop for insurance, or defer to a federal program, and expanding Medicaid to reduce the number of uninsured residents.
In Florida, about 3.8 million people, or 21 percent, lack coverage.
The poll shows 49 percent of voters think the state should opt out of the optional provisions, with 45 percent saying it should comply. Scott has already said the state will not set up the insurance exchanges or expand Medicaid, contending it would be too costly, even though the federal government would pay the entire cost for a few years and most to it afterward.
Alan Reichwein, 55, who owns an indoor foliage nursery in Eustis, said he opposes the law because of how it would affect his business. He currently has just over 50 employees, the threshold in which businesses must offer insurance or face penalties under the law.
“I cannot afford to be larger than 50 employees because the healthcare burden would be too large for me,” said Reichwein, a Republican. “I don’t want a law that forces me to provide benefits if I cannot afford to supply them.”
He said he currently provides half of his employees’ health insurance while they chip in the other half. Many of them decline because they don’t want to pay the other 50 percent.
“There’s a lot of good intention with these laws,” Reichwein said. “But their employer did provide healthcare [and] they either couldn’t afford it or didn’t want it.”
Said Doris Del Toro, 52, a small-business owner from Miami: “I don’t understand it at all. I think the president’s time was better spent on trying to improve the economy and create more jobs.”
Herald/Times staff writers Katie Sanders, Sergio Bustos and Michael Van Sickler contributed to this report.
Alex Leary can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.