Obamacare Lawsuit Stumbles in House
Around the State
In the latest chapter of the Florida Republicans’ pushback against the new federal health-care legislation, the House Rules & Calendar Council met Thursday to discuss a proposed amendment to the state Constitution.
But, even though the measure has more than half of the House members listed as co-sponsors, it sputtered and stalled.
A day after Attorney General Bill McCollum -- GOP gubernatorial frontrunner -- announced that five more states have committed to join his lawsuit against the federal law, House Republicans looked prepared to allow a measure taking a constitutional amendment on health care to the voters in November. The measure would allow Floridians to opt out of having health insurance if it passed with the approval of 60 percent of the voters.
“It reserves the basic right of Floridians to maintain control over their own health care,” said Rep. Scott Plakon, R-Longwood, the chief sponsor of the measure in the House. “It makes sure Floridians will not be compelled to purchase health care.”
Chairman Bill Galvano, R-Bradenton, added an amendment to the resolution that watered it down considerably. Republicans on the committee moved to postpone the amendment and the bill.
“I wanted to avoid issues with the supremacy clause,” Galvano said after the meeting.
Democrats on the committee supported Galvano.
“Chairman Galvano did the right on principle, even if it’s not the right thing for politics,” said incoming Minority Leader Ron Saunders, D-Key West.
After the meeting Plakon said that while he respected Galvano’s legal background, he would continue to fight for the measure. Plakon admitted he is not an attorney: “I’m just a guy trying to insert a basic right into the Constitution -- the right to health-care freedom.”
Galvano said he was not sure when the matter would reemerge in his committee. It marked the second meeting this week when the House Rules & Calendar Council attempted to pass the measure.
He later issued a statement on House Joint Resolution (HJR) 37, known as the Health Care Freedom Act: "I share Rep. Plakon's policy goal of making sure that Floridians' rights are not abridged by overreaching and burdensome government mandates on their private health care decisions.
"The Florida Constitution is a unique document with issues particular to our state. With that challenge in mind, I will continue working with Rep. Plakon and House Majority Leader (Adam) Hasner to find language that best fits Florida's Constitution and protects the rights and freedoms of all Floridians."
Reach Kevin Derby at firstname.lastname@example.org or (850) 727-0859.