Legislative leaders say no to meeting Obamacare deadline

in Uncategorized by

Florida will not meet a Friday deadline to determine what course it will take to implement a key part of the 2010 federal health overhaul, the Legislature’s incoming leaders wrote in a letter Thursday to U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, reports the News Service of Florida.

Incoming Senate President Don Gaetz and incoming House Speaker Will Weatherford said in a joint statement that the state won’t meet the deadline for mapping out a general plan to establish insurance exchanges. That won’t happen until after lawmakers meet in March, the leaders said. In the meantime, lawmakers need more information on the program. “Two factors prevent immediate state action on the establishment of an exchange,” the letter said.

“First, the Legislature has not authorized the governor or any state agency or other entity to develop and operate an exchange, and no such authority can be established until the Legislature convenes in March. Second, the state lacks sufficient information to fully evaluate the potential impact of choosing one exchange model over another. The first issue will be addressed through the debate and decisions expected to occur during the 2013 legislative session. However, resolution of the second issue depends on the ability of your agency to provide answers to numerous critical questions.”

Hoping for repeal of the federal law, the Republican-led Legislature has waited until after the 2012 presidential election to begin the process of implementing what has come to be known as ObamaCare. With the re-election of President Barack Obama and a continued Democratic majority in the Senate, repeal efforts have been dashed, at least for the next four years.

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including SaintPetersBlog.com, FloridaPolitics.com, ContextFlorida.com, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.