Moments after the House voted down a bipartisan plan to expand access to health care for hundreds of thousands of Floridians, those championing the efforts lamented the missed opportunity.
Senate President Andy Gardiner issued a statement noting that:
“The critical healthcare challenges facing Florida still remain. This weekend, members of the Legislature will begin a budget conference where we will take hundreds of millions in general revenue that could have been dedicated to schools, roads, our environment or countless other priorities and instead use those limited taxpayer dollars to try to patch together a healthcare budget that we know we cannot make whole. There is a better way, and while we did not get there today, I am proud of the Senate for working together in a bipartisan spirt of compromise to advance a Florida solution.”
House Minority Leader Mark Pafford told reporters after the vote that, “Until we begin dealing with (healthcare access) we’ll be fighting as hard as we can to expand it.”
The bipartisan organization called A Healthy Florida Works sent a statement to the press saying it was a “disappointing day for all Floridians.”
“The Florida House of Representatives’ decision not to take action to reduce the number of uninsured people in this state and bring businesses relief from the tax burden of uncompensated health care means Florida’s healthcare financing crisis will persist,” read the statement from spokesperson Jennifer Fennell.
“This is not a problem that will go away on its own and it will be waiting for lawmakers when they return to Tallahassee for the 2016 legislative session.”
The organization FloridaStrong weighed in on the healthcare debate during the 2015A special session, sending mailers to voters in eight swing districts and buying an Internet advertisement.
The Democratic-leaning group issued a statement saying that the vote against the Senate plan is “yet another example of representatives choosing senseless political games over Florida families. It is incredibly disappointing that, regardless of the solution reached, shameless partisans in the House are seemingly incapable of nothing but excuses.”
The League of Women Voters Florida President Pamela Goodman sent a statement saying “This is not a loss. The fight goes on and we will not rest until the battle is won. We can only hope that 2016 — an election year — will make opponents find the compassion and the moral strength to take action on behalf of the less fortunate.