High court delivers blow to Florida Republican leadersby John Kennedy | June 28th, 2012
The U.S. Supreme Court upheld key provisions of the 2010 federal health care overhaul Thursday, dealing a major defeat to Gov. Rick Scott and Florida Republican leaders, who have been clamoring for justices to kill the law.
Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater initially issued a statement praising the high court for striking down the law’s central provision – that citizens must obtain health insurance. But Atwater quickly recalled his email when it became clear the court upheld the mandate.
Scott is expected to respond to the ruling close to noon. Attorney General Pam Bondi, who also spearheaded Florida’s role in challenging the 2010 federal law and attended March arguments in the case, also plans to speak then.
Scott, Bondi and other members of the Florida Cabinet were meeting as the state’s Clemency Board when the ruling came down Thursday.
Florida Republican leaders, however, are likely to hail the court’s decision that states cannot lose all Medicaid funding if they fail to embrace the law’s sweeping expansion of the program serving the poor, elderly and disabled.
Scott and leaders in the Republican-dominated Florida Legislature have clamored for Congress to grant the state’s Medicaid block grants, a call that is expected to be revived with Thursday’s ruling. Scott has already urged Congress to repeal the 2010 law, a push that is certain to play a pivotal role in this fall’s presidential race.
Block grants would allow states to design their own health programs for low-income, elderly and disabled residents, that fit within their own budgets.
Critics, however, see block grants as merely a tactic by states seeking to cut benefits.