Fla. House Obamacare war: ‘The tea bags have dropped, the party’s over’

Florida’s spot as a key front in the Obamacare wars will continue today in the state House of Representatives.

The state House of Representatives today takes up a bill to provide a form of health-care coverage for uninsured Floridians after House Republicans soundly defeating a proposal to accept federal Medicaid expansion money favored state Senate Republican leaders.

Over hours of debate Thursday, House Democrats supported the Senate plan, authored by Sen. Joe Negron, R-Palm City, a conservative who is chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee.

But Republicans adamantly rejected the plan. Today the House will vote on an alternative plan unveiled two weeks ago by House Speaker Will Weatherford, R-Wesley Chapel, who has repeatedly made his opposition to Medicaid expansion clear, and state Rep. Richard Corcoran, R-Land-O-Lakes, chairman of the House Health and Human Services Committee.

Corcoran is also chairman of the House Select Committee on the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act – generally known as Obamacare.

During the debate, Democrats repeatedly accused Republicans of trying to turn back the clock on Obamacare and re-fighting battles long over.

“It’s not 2010 anymore. The tea bags have dropped, the party’s over,” said Rep. Jared Evan Moskowitz, D-Coral Springs, noting that Obamacare has been upheld by the Supreme Court and that Negron’s proposal is favored by Gov. Rick Scott and the state’s business community.

“It must tell you you’re on the wrong side of the issue,” Moskowitz said.

Rep. Mark Pafford, D-West Palm Beach, said Florida should fall in line with other states that have accepted the Obamacare expansion.

“The governor is great with it. The Senate is great with it. Frankly, it’s disgusting that this chamber hasn’t taken it up,” he said.

But Corcoran said accepting the Medicaid expansion would condemn the state to a “two-tiered” health-care system, “one for poor people, one for rich people.”

The House Republican plan, he said, represents a “real choice for real care for everyone.”

A House Republican vote in favor of the Corcoran plan draw the battle lines over the issue between the House and the Senate clearly, with one week to go before the regular session is scheduled to end.

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