Tallahassee legislative committees tackle healthcare exchanges

tallahassee capitolHenry Kelley has agreed to offer BizPac Review readers his exclusive analysis of what’s happening in Tallahassee. The Florida Legislature is currently in committee week and he shares his first report.

Henry is a small business owner in Fort Walton Beach, a prominent leader of Florida’s tea party movement and a decorated Army veteran who served in Desert Storm. He earned an undergraduate degree from the University of Florida and an MBA from Rollins College.


Humble dispatches from committee week:

The House Committee on Patient Protection and the Affordable Care Act (PPACA).

House PPACA:

There was a staff presentation on the issues around implementing the Exchanges. At this point the State has two choices left; Let the Feds implement them, or create a hybrid State – Federal system. While it’s hard to count votes as an outsider, it appears the Committee is moving towards recommending the hybrid solution.

Now, this Committee hearing was well attended by those who want the Exchanges, and the folks who believe in ObamaCare were in force telling us to expand Medicaid and implement the Exchanges. No one from the public asked “who will pay for this”.

The House PPACA committee meeting will meet again Wednesday to hear from private employers. Rumors abound in the hallway that legislators will take rapid action to meet a February deadline to decide to share implementing the Exchanges with a Federal/State partnership. Their next meeting is January 16th at Noon.

Senate PPACA:

The Senate panel had multiple speakers from both large and small businesses discussing implemention. In short, their testimony was:

  • Costs will rise
  • Employers will cut workers hours to compensate for the higher costs.
  • If you have a “Cadillac Plan”, you will pay a higher tax on those plans.
  • It will probably be easier for a small business to pay a $2000 fine rather that provide insurance due to the cumbersome regulatory environment.
  • Policies must charge men and women the same, ignoring actual physiological differences.
  • Currently, women tend to pay more and so it is expected that, yes, you guessed it, the cost of male policies will rise to match women’s, and everyone pays more.

The League of Women Voters referred to the “ruckus” of last months meeting, and stressed that they fully support the implementation of ObamaCare. Public testimony came from the same individuals attending the earlier House meeting. Those who are asking for more government, but with no plan to pay for it.

Well, there is a plan… “The Federal Government will pay the first 3 years”. Yes, the entire plan consists of asking the Feds to print more money, and bribe us with our money.

Henry’s notes:

In watching the discussion, I believe the most pressing question we should demand an answer to is how will this be paid for before the State drags us into a hybrid relationship with the Federal government.

I’d like to applaud Senator Joe Negron for his commitment to hearing from the public. At both hearings so far, he has blocked off time for the public, and tried to accommodate as many speakers as possible. Not all committee chairs try this hard, and he remained after the end of the hearing to speak to those who did not get a chance to speak. (Procedural note: If a committee has a posted end time of 6 p.m., by rule the meeting ends precisely at 6. They cannot “extend” meetings on the spot).

Again, one cannot count votes but based on the questions, the Senate panel appears more skeptical than the House at this juncture.

The next Senate hearing for PPACA is January 22 at 1 p.m. EST.



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