House Crushes Fasano's Health Insurance Amendment

By: Dave Heller | Posted: April 26, 2013 3:55 AM
Mike Fasano

Rep. Mike Fasano, R-New Port Richey

Republicans in the Florida House have defeated an attempt by their GOP colleague, Rep. Mike Fasano, to extend health coverage to uninsured Floridians.

Fasano, R-New Port Richey, pushed to amend the House’s health insurance bill to match the Senate’s version.

The Senate has a plan to accept more than $50 billion from the federal government over the next 10 years to extend health coverage to more than 1 million Floridians.

The House wants a scaled-back version that rejects the federal cash, but uses state money to offer health insurance to about 115,000 people.

Fasano argued Floridians should not have to send their tax dollars to Washington and not get a return on that cash. He said his amendment would cover more people, create thousands of jobs and save the state a lot of money.

“We’re talking 125,000 individuals," said Fasano, "many of them who would never be able to afford the premium and the deductible, and here under the amendment I’m offering we are talking about being able to afford insurance, primary care, to 1.1 million Floridians.”

Said Daryl Rouson, D-St. Petersburg, "I’m asking you today to vote for this amendment, to embrace the concept that we can insure 1.1 million people.”

But Clay Ingram, R-Pensacola, argued, “The truth is that the federal government will be bankrolling Medicaid expansion with deficit spending. The spending is designed to buy off states for three years until the federal government is ready to start shifting costs back to the state.”

The health care issue created unusual alliances in the Florida House.

Generally speaking, Democrats lined up behind Fasano’s amendment, while Republicans voted to defeat it.

Dave Heller is a Tallahassee freelance reporter/videographer. 

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