Floridians Benefiting From Affordable Care Act Despite Their Governor's Best Efforts

November 28, 2011 12:15 pm ET — Kate Conway

Gov. Rick Scott

Just as it's already benefiting Americans all over the nation, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is also helping hundreds of thousands of citizens of Florida, the state with the second-highest rate of uninsured residents:

[Health and Human Services Press Secretary Keith] Maley said the federal government has set up a high-risk insurance pool for states that declined to do so. It's now serving 2,381 Floridians whose pre-existing conditions made it impossible for them to find coverage elsewhere.

About 78,000 young adults in Florida have become eligible for coverage on their parents' health plan, Maley said.

And more than 250,000 seniors have received rebate checks and are getting medication discounts because they exceeded their Medicare drug benefit and fall into the so-called doughnut hole, Maley said.

But that's no thanks to Florida Gov. Rick Scott (R), who is eagerly awaiting what he hopes will be a Supreme Court decision ruling the health care law unconstitutional. Since his election, Scott has gone out of his way to undermine the law, refusing to implement its provisions and declaring that it's "not the law of the land." In an op-ed on the anniversary of the law's passage, the governor declared, "we will not seek any federal funds available under the health care law. We will not set up a health insurance 'exchange' — a new euphemism for an arm of the federal government that implements federal regulations."

And he has kept his word — more or less. He's turned down millions of dollars in grants made available to his state because they were tied to the reform package. He has also done nothing to implement the ACA's health care exchanges, which many other states are working to set up. Yet he has made progress on similar exchanges authorized under a 2008 Florida law, inexplicably refusing to integrate them with the national law's requirements.

It seems it's not the principle components of the Affordable Care Act that Scott objects to — it's the name of the legislation to which they're attached. And sadly, if his partisan opposition prevails, hundreds of thousands of his state's residents could lose coverage and see their medical bills rise.

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