Following Ruling, Scott Stops Health Care Prep

By: Michael Peltier, The News Service of Florida
By: Michael Peltier, The News Service of Florida

THE CAPITAL, TALLAHASSEE, Feb. 1, 2011 --

With a favorable federal court ruling declaring the federal health care law unconstitutional, Gov. Rick Scott said Tuesday the state will be in no hurry to implement any aspect of the law.

Speaking to reporters following a Cabinet meeting, Scott said he’s confident the ruling Monday by U.S. District Court Judge Roger Vinson invalidating critical portions of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, will withstand U.S. Supreme Court muster. Therefore, there is no pressing need to enact other portions of the legislation until the high court, as is expected, weighs in on the issue, he said.

“We are not going to spend a lot of time and money with regard to trying to get ready to implement that until we know exactly what is going to happen,” Scott said. “I hope and I believe that either it will be declared unconstitutional or it will be repealed.”

Asked later if the state would be left in the lurch if the U.S. Supreme Court upholds the federal health care initiative, Scott, who made his fortune in the health care industry, said state officials “will have enough time” to implement the measure before the 2014 deadline

“The state won’t be caught flat footed,” Scott said. “We’ll be ready.”

On Monday, Vinson ruled in favor of a challenge by Florida, 25 other states and the National Federation of Independent Business, which said the law passed last year was unconstitutional because it forced citizens to buy health insurance.

Meanwhile, Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi said she has been in consultation with attorneys general from the 25 other states and the NFIB to determine the next legal step.

Bondi said she expects Florida will continue take the lead in the appellate fight. Vinson said the requirement that Americans buy health insurance was central to the law, and so the entire law was invalid.

“What he says is this is all connected,” Bondi said Tuesday. “It stands or falls on the mandate. So, if the mandate falls, the entire process falls.”

Despite rejecting the law, Vinson refused a request by Florida and other states to stop the federal government from moving forward during the appeal, instead saying federal officials can proceed to enact the sweeping measure while the case winds its way through an appellate process that will likely lead to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Federal officials asked federal appellate courts to issue a stay in Vinson’s decision until the case is resolved. The request was still pending Tuesday morning.


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