Florida Delegation Continues to Disagree on Obamacare
Around the State
Four years after President Barack Obama signed his federal health-care bill into law, Congress continues to battle over it with the Florida delegation divided on party lines.
This week, Republicans controlling the U.S. House passed the Simple Fairness Act, introduced by U.S. Rep. Lynn Jenkins, R-Kan., which would delay the individual mandate in the law until 2015. Republicans have argued that corporations and large businesses have been granted a delay on the individual mandate until next year and families and individuals should be included as well.
Republicans from Florida made the case to delay the individual mandate this week, including U.S. Rep. Bill Posey. R-Fla.
“This bill simply delays the individual mandate tax penalty for a year so that Americans can pick a plan that they want and that they can afford, rather than one that the government in Washington tells them they must sign up for,” Posey said on Tuesday. “The president has already given large multinational corporations and labor unions the same waiver. We are simply extending this same flexibility to average Americans who want nothing more than to be treated equally.
“Ultimately, when you have to pass a bill to find out what’s in it, there’s a good chance that you’re not going to like what it says,” Posey added. “The only way to fix this situation is to repeal this law and replace it with a plan that restores individual freedom and makes health insurance more affordable.
Freshman U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis, R-Fla., also fired away at the health-care law on Wednesday.
“When Congress enacts a law, the president has the constitutionally-mandated duty to ‘take care that the laws be faithfully executed,’” DeSantis said on Wednesday. “You would think that, when it comes to a president's signature initiative, that the president would be eager to discharge this responsibility. Not so with this president and Obamacare.”
DeSantis pointed to reports that the Obama administration was planning to delay mandates on insurance companies, state exchanges and risk corridors. The congressman insisted the Obama White House was doing this to help Democrats in the 2014 election cycle.
“Maybe my Constitution is missing a few pages because I cannot find the provision which authorizes the president to dispense with his obligation to faithfully execute the law if by doing so he helps his political party cling to power in a midterm election,” DeSantis said. “The constant rewriting of Obamacare is nothing more than a cynical attempt to allow members of Congress (particularly senators) to evade accountability for a law they imposed on the nation over the objections of their constituents. At some point the deception must end.”
But Democrats pushed back and U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla., the chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee (DNC), painted the Jenning’s bill as the latest attempt by Republicans to repeal the health-care law.
"I rise today to recognize the 50th time this House of Representatives has tried to repeal, defund or dismantle the Affordable Care Act,” Wasserman Schultz said on the House floor on Tuesday. "What a sad golden anniversary moment for the GOP.
"The Affordable Care Act, which has already helped millions of Americans, is the law of the land,” Wasserman Schultz added. “Instead of playing politics, let’s instead work together to address concerns over its implementation while upholding its mission: to provide quality, affordable health care access for all Americans.
"With Americans facing so many real, pressing issues every day, I urge this Congress to focus on achieving results and serving our constituents,” Wasserman Schultz continued. “Two million Americans, including about 110,000 Floridians, have lost their unemployment insurance. Our immigration system is in dire need of common sense and comprehensive reforms. Women still make less than men while working equal jobs. The list goes on. We have work to do. We have a duty and responsibility to serve the interests of the American people. These pointless partisan attacks on the Affordable Care Act must stop."
Reach Kevin Derby at email@example.com.