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Bondi bashes Obamacare with FOX friends

Tuesday, July 9th, 2013 by Dara Kam

Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi joined FOX News “Fox & Friends” host Gretchen Carlson early this morning for the latest round of Obamacare-bashing.

Bondi, a former contributor to FOX News and frequent guest on the conservative network since her 2010 election, was asked about the latest twist in the federal health care law that spurred an outcry from Republicans.

President Obama’s administration announced on Friday it was delaying requirements that state-run health care insurance exchanges verify applicants’ eligibility for subsidized health care coverage.

Bondi railed against the HHS delay of the verification for eligibility. But the new rule won’t affect Florida because the state is not running its own exchange. Just 16 states and the District of Columbia chose to set up their own marketplaces. Like Florida, nearly every other state has defaulted to the federal government’s exchange.

“Here, now, we have nothing to prevent fraud. Anyone can come and say that they qualify for this and there’s absolutely no verification,” Bondi, a Republican, told Carlson.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services said it would delay the required random checks for eligibility for a year. The online exchanges are supposed to go up on Oct. 1, and individuals are slated to begin purchasing insurance through them by Jan. 1.

Bondi took over a multi-state lawsuit led by Florida against the Obama administration over the health care law after she took office in 2011. The U.S. Supreme Court upheld the law last year but ruled that states do not have to participate in an expansion of Medicaid that was a key portion of the federal law. Florida lawmakers opted this year not to expand the federal-state health care program for the poor. The expansion would have covered about 1 million uninsured Floridians.

The fact that the new regulation won’t impact Florida didn’t diminish Bondi’s outrage.

“It’s going to be unbelievable,” she said. “I’m not going to say everybody’s going to commit fraud…
I would hope they wouldn’t. But we’ve opened something up that is vulnerable and invites fraud. That’s what frightens all of us. It’s going to be difficult for the IRS to verify. It’s going to be difficult for state authorities to verify. It’s just one more example of what a mess this federal takeover has become.”

Senate president to create select committee on federal health care law

Monday, November 19th, 2012 by Dara Kam

Incoming Senate President Don Gaetz, who will officially take the gavel tomorrow, will create a select committee on the the “Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act,” the federal health care law that he and other Republicans were banking on being repealed.

After two years of ignoring the law and President Obama’s re-election, GOP legislative leaders are scrambling to figure out how to comply with the law and meet deadlines dealing with health care exchanges, or marketplaces where small businesses and individuals can shop for health insurance. The exchanges are the cornerstone of the federal health care law and are part of the plan to provide health insurance to more than 30 million uninsured Americans nationwide.

Gaetz, R-Niceville, released proposed new rules that lawmakers will officially endorse tomorrow during the organizational session kicking off the 2013 legislative session.

Among other things, the new rules require each of the 40 members of the Senate to take a minimum of one hour of ethics training.

And the new rules prohibit senators from voting on a measure in which they have a conflict of interest. Under the old rules, senators had to disclose the conflict but were still permitted to vote on the matter.

Palm Beach County has two new state senators who will be sworn in along with other newly-elected members tomorrow. Democratic Sens. Joseph Abruzzo of Wellington and Jeff Clemens of Lake Worth, both former state representatives, join fellow Democrat Sen. Maria Sachs of Delray Beach. Clemens survived a heated primary against state Rep. Mack Bernard and Sachs defeated former state Sen. Ellyn Bogdanoff, R-Fort Lauderdale, in a brutal race for a newly drawn Senate district encompassing parts of Palm Beach and Broward counties. Sen. Joe Negron, R- Stuart, is the lone GOP senator representing part of Palm Beach County.

Confusion as Scott cedes control of health exchanges to feds

Friday, July 6th, 2012 by Dara Kam

Gov. Rick Scott’s insistence that he will not implement the state health insurance exchanges mandated under the federal health care law doesn’t mean Florida won’t have one.

Instead, it most likely means the federal government will have control over Florida’s exchanges, including how they will operate, what benefits insurers will have to offer and who gets to sell the policies.

While Scott has spent much of the last week on national television and radio attacking the federal health-care program recently upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court, Florida Senate leaders have been working on a plan to not only implement the exchanges but to expand Medicaid, which Scott also said the state will refuse to do.

It all adds up to confusion over what Florida will do and, at least for now, points to likely federal control.

Scott, who says the government can’t run anything better or cheaper than private businesses do, cut his political teeth fighting President Obama’s health care law before it was even passed by Congress in 2010.

And he stepped up his campaign against the law on national television in the days since the high court issued its ruling last week.

“What has the government ever provided cheaper?” Scott asked Fox News host Greta Van Susteren last week. “They don’t. They always overpromise and underdeliver.”

Scott’s distrust of the federal government makes his decision to cede the state’s power to the White House – regardless of who’s occupying it – all the more curious.

Read the full story here.

Federal court tosses Virginia federal health care lawsuits

Thursday, September 8th, 2011 by Dara Kam

A federal appeals court tossed two Virginia lawsuits Thursday challenging the constitutionality of the federal health care law’s insurance requirement, also known as the individual mandate.

The U.S. Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals dismissed both lawsuits, ruling that neither the state’s attorney general Ken Cuccinelli or Liberty University had standing to challenge the law. The three-judge panel’s decision overturned a lower-court ruling invalidating the insurance requirement.

Thursday’s ruling now leaves an even score on other appellate rulings on the health care law. First, a three-judge panel in Cincinnati ruled in favor of the law. A more recent decision last month from an Atlanta three-judge panel ruling in a multi-state lawsuit headed by Florida that the individual mandate portion of the law was unconstitutional but left the remainder of the law intact.

And it heightens the importance of the Florida lawsuit, which observers say will ultimately be decided by the U.S. Supreme Court.

Gov. Rick Scott, who made his fortune in the health care industry, launched his foray into politics more than two years ago with an effort to keep the proposed health care reforms from going into law. Scott is an outspoken critic of the law and once said fighting against it was one of the reasons he ran for governor.

Yesterday, lawmakers approved a request from Scott’s administration for a $3.4 billion grant drawn from the federal Affordable Care Act. The Legislative Budget Commission signed off on taking the cash to provide home visitation services to at-risk families.

Federal court finds individual mandate unconstitutional, leaves remainder of law intact

Friday, August 12th, 2011 by Dara Kam

Striking a blow to the White House, a federal appeals court ruled Friday that President Barack Obama’s health care law requiring Americans to buy health insurance is unconstitutional.

The 11th Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta also found that the remainder of the law can remain intact.

Florida former attorney general Bill McCollum launched the lawsuit against the federal government over the sweeping law. Twenty-five other states have since joined the suit, now likely headed to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Oral arguments set in federal health care lawsuit

Thursday, March 31st, 2011 by Dara Kam

A federal appeals court in Atlanta has set June 8 for oral arguments in the the federal health care lawsuit but denied Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi‘s request for a full court hearing.

The fast-tracked lawsuit by 26 states, including Florida, and the National Federal of Independent Businesses is ultimately headed to the U.S. Supreme Court.

“We are pleased that the 11th Circuit scheduled oral argument this June, so we can resolve this case and protect Americans’ individual liberties,” Bondi said in a statement. “This case will ultimately be decided by the U.S. Supreme Court, and a case of such national importance should have no delay.”

Pensacola U.S. District Judge Roger Vinson in January ruled the health overhaul unconstitutional, saying the U.S. Commerce Clause did not allow the federal government to require every citizen to buy insurance or pay a penalty. Doing so would give the federal government such sweeping powers that it could force its citizens to eat broccoli, he contended.

Vinson, who is based in Pensacola, declared the entire health act invalid.

Earlier this month Vinson put a stay on his ruling while the appeals proceed – meaning the health act could continue to be implemented – but gave the White House a week to appeal. President Obama’s administration filed the appeal on March 9.

Bondi asks for full court hearing in federal health care lawsuit

Friday, March 11th, 2011 by Dara Kam

Attorney General Pam Bondi wants a full-court review of the President Obama administration’s appeal in the federal health care lawsuit.

Bondi filed a motion with the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta seeking an en banc hearing, meaning the appellate review would be held before all 10 federal judges.

The reason for her request, Bondi said in a press release, “is to avoid any unnecessary delays that may arise if a three-judge panel decides the case and then refers it for a hearing by the full 11th Circuit.”

If the court agrees to her request, the case would be heard on June 6, according to Bondi.

“This case is so significant to all Americans that it needs to be resolved as quickly as possible,” she said in the release. “If granted, the petition would allow a faster track to the Supreme Court.”

Senate approves health care amendment 29-10

Wednesday, March 9th, 2011 by Dara Kam

On the second day of the legislative session, the Florida Senate approved a proposed constitutional amendment allowing Florida to opt out of the federal health care law, the chamber’s President Mike Haridopolos’ top priority.

The Senate approved the measure, (SJR 2) by a 29-10 vote, with just one Democrat – Bill Montford of Tallahassee – voting in favor.

The amendment, which would go before the voters next year, bans the federal government from forcing Floridians from having to purchase health care coverage, the “individual mandate” that is the subject of several federal court cases, including one in Florida. A Pensacola federal judge struck down the law as unconstitutional. President Obama’s administration appealed that ruling yesterday, and the U.S. Supreme Court will ultimately decide on the case.

Lawmakers attempted to put a similar measure on the ballot last year, but the Florida Supreme Court struck it down saying it was confusing to voters. Haridopolos tweaked the language to try to meet the court’s muster this time around.

Haridopolos, a Merritt Island Republican, is running for U.S. Senate, and could possibly on the same November 2012 ballot as the amendment.

“This is about freedom. This is about federalism. This is not a unitary government where everything just comes on down high from government,” Haridopolos said before the vote. “This is about choice. This is about freedom and respecting the U.S. Constitution and…mostly, respecting individual rights.”

Senate Democratic Leader Nan Rich of Weston argued that the federal law already allows states to opt out if they come up with another way to make sure its citizens are insured.

“The fact remains that this is the law of the land and it is our duty to take the appropriate steps to implement this law,” Rich said. “Whether you like it or not, we have a federal system of government…Federal law remains the supreme law of the land.”

The proposed amendment would require 60 percent approval from the voters to pass. The House has not yet voted on the measure.

Arguing against the bill, Sen. Tony Hill, D-Jacksonville, took umbrage at Sen. Don Gaetz, R-Niceville, calling the law “Obamacare.”

“Sen. Gaetz mentioned Obamacare,” Hill said. “At least somebody care.”

Feds file appeal in health care lawsuit

Tuesday, March 8th, 2011 by Dara Kam

President Obama’s administration filed an appeal Tuesday afternoon in Florida’s lawsuit challenging the federal health care law, meeting a Pensacola federal judge’s deadline.

Judge Roger Vinson of the Northern District of Florida, who struck down the law as unconstitutional, issued a stay Thursday of his earlier ruling, effectively ordering the 26 states that challenged it – including Florida – to continue to implement the law.

But e gave the White House until Thursday to appeal for his stay to remain intact.

The U.S. Justice Department filed the appeal to the Eleventh Circuit appeals court in Atlanta, but could have gone directly to the U.S. Supreme Court where the case will ultimately be decided.

Pensacola judge rules White House can carry on health care law, for now

Thursday, March 3rd, 2011 by Dara Kam

President Obama’s administration can continue implementation of the federal health care act, a federal judge ordered today in the multi-state lawsuit led by Florida.

But, in a 20-page order issued today, Judge Roger Vinson of the Northern District of Florida gave the White House one week to file its appeal.

Attorney General Pam Bondi, leading the charge in the case involving 25 other states, had insisted that Vinson’s ruling quashed the law and that the state no longer had to implement it.

But in his “clarification” issued today, Vinson today wrote that his January ruling striking down the federal law as unconstitutional did not force White House officials and states to stop implementing the law.

But, he wrote, that was because he expected the Justice Department to immediately file an appeal in the case, expected to ultimately be decided by the U.S. Supreme Court.

“The sooner this issue is finally decided by the Supreme Court, the better off the entire nation will be. And yet, it has been more than one month from the entry of my order and judgment and still the defendants have not filed their notice of appeal,” Vinson wrote.
(more…)

File an appeal already, Bondi tells White House

Thursday, February 24th, 2011 by Dara Kam

Attorney General Pam Bondi called President Obama’s administration’s request for clarification in a ruling overturning the federal health care law a delay tactic and urged the president to file an appeal to move the case along to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Bondi yesterday asked U.S. District Court Judge Roger Vinson to reject the Justice Department’s request for clarification of his ruling that the health care law is unconstitutional. Some states, including Florida, have halted implementation of the law while awaiting an ultimate decision by the Supreme Court.

“Department of Justice’s motion to clarify is merely an attempt to delay the process when the order clearly required a halt to implementation,” Bondi said in a statement.

Vinson’s order amounts to an injunction on the health care law in Florida and the 25 other states in the lawsuit, Bondi said.

“Our memorandum states that time is of the essence in this matter, and the Court should deny the defendants’ motion for clarification as well as their thinly disguised request for a stay,” she said. “Everyone knows this case will ultimately be decided by the U.S. Supreme Court, and the Department of Justice should join us in seeking an expedited appeals process. This issue is too important for delay, and we urge the
President to file an appeal in the appropriate appellate court, as was done in Virginia and Michigan. It is in the country’s best interest to present this case before the U.S. Supreme Court as soon as possible.”

Six more states join FL health care lawsuit against feds

Tuesday, January 18th, 2011 by Dara Kam

Six more states have joined Florida’s legal challenge to the federal health care law now awaiting a Pensacola federal judge’s preliminary ruling.

Iowa, Ohio, Kansas, Wyoming, Wisconsin and Maine are now among the 26 states, including Florida, challenging the constitutionality of the federal health care law. Virginia has filed a separate lawsuit and Oklahoma is considering its own as well.

Attorney General Pam Bondi filed the papers in Pensacola to add the six states to the lawsuit initiated by her predecessor Bill McCollum.

Meanwhile, the Republican-controlled U.S. House of Representatives are debating a bill that would repeal the law. That measure is expected to go nowhere in the U.S. Senate, where Democrats still have the upper hand.

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