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Happy Anniversary: Democrats jeer Rick Scott one year after failed GOP health care plan

Several state Democrats have come together via joint statements to remind Floridians of Gov. Rick Scott‘s intervention in a 2017 push to repeal and replace Obamacare, which ultimately never materialized.

The unified effort — featuring state lawmakers Reps. Amy Mercado and Shevrin Jones, along with Sens. Lori Berman and José Javier Rodríguez  — comes as Scott vies to unseat Democratic U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson

It was reported last year that Scott had helped Congressman Tom Price, President Donald Trump‘s now-resigned pick to lead the U.S. Health and Human Services agency, craft legislation to repeal and replace certain provisions in the Affordable Health Care Act, or Obamacare. It also was reported that Scott would’ve seen personal tax savings under some of the proposed ideas.

However, when a plan to repeal certain provisions of Obamacare went to the U.S. Senate for a floor vote on July 27, 2017, it failed after Republican Senators John McCain of Arizona, Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska voted against the proposal.

It’s unclear how much sway Scott had in the ultimate proposal, but it’s clear that Democrats don’t want anyone to forget his involvement — especially during an election year.

What’s omitted from the Democrats, however, is the idea that they are attacking Scott over a failed GOP plan that would have a higher chance of passage in the future if the Senate has one more Republican.

“Rick Scott bragged about helping write the failed GOP healthcare bill,” Mercado said. “It’s a true blessing for Florida that the bill didn’t pass.

“Even though Scott failed in his efforts, Floridians are still faced with huge hurdles to get access to quality and affordable care, and the governor has done next to nothing to help.”

Added Jones: “Rick Scott’s attacks on access to affordable healthcare are disgraceful, but not surprising. Scott has always put himself first, and his work helping write healthcare repeal is no exception. He cared more about getting props from his Republican friends in D.C. than actually helping Floridians.”

“Not only did he go to D.C. to help write the bill that would’ve stripped protections for pre-existing conditions and increased costs for millions, he actively worked against expanding healthcare for hundreds of thousands of Floridians,” Berman said. “Floridians deserve better.”

“We need a leader who will fight for healthcare access, not against it,” Javier Rodriguez added. 

These attacks come as Democrats nationwide have coalesced around a health care-focused message for the midterms. They also follow Florida’s decision to join a lawsuit with other states seeking for provisions of Obamacare to be overturned. One of the hot-button issues: coverage of individuals with pre-existing conditions.

Scott, a Republican, takes a limited-government approach to the issue and has gone on record saying he believes everyone should have access to health care, but that the marketplace should be competitive. After Democrats attacked him claiming he supports eliminating the pre-existing condition provision, Scott replied, “I’ve continued to say that it is important to cover individuals with pre-existing conditions and that every American, including those with pre-existing conditions, should have the ability to buy any kind of insurance they want. Obamacare is a disaster and costs way too much, but keeping pre-existing provisions should be a part of any healthcare reform. I disagree with efforts to dismantle protections for those with pre-existing conditions.”

Nelson, a Democrat, also has charged Scott with supporting the elimination of the pre-existing condition provision, saying he should withdraw Florida from the lawsuit if he believes otherwise. Scott, however, has told media that Bondi has the independent authority to remain in the lawsuit.

Written By

Danny McAuliffe is a Tallahassee correspondent for Florida Politics. He is a graduate of Florida State University, where he served as the editor of the FSView & Florida Flambeau. He is a lifelong Floridian and indulges in swimming, hiking, running and memes when the news cycle permits. Reach him at dmcauliffe500@gmail.com.

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