Florida officials condemn, celebrate ruling against ObamaCare

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A Texas judge’s ruling against the Affordable Care Act, just before the deadline for enrollment through the Health Insurance Marketplace, prompted a range of reactions from Florida pols.

Judge Reed O’Connor on Friday declared the entire law unconstitutional after a lawsuit filed by 20 Republican Attorneys General and Governors, including Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi, challenged the individual mandate.

Republican U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio celebrated the ruling:

“The ruling against Obamacare, on behalf of Florida and others, serves as a stark reminder of the millions of Americans who are suffering under the law. Americans should have the ability to buy a health plan that meets their needs, rather than what Washington tells them.

“This ruling is a first, not a final step, in a long legal process and will not impact next year’s coverage. Ultimately, Congress must take action. We should look at opportunities that give families flexibility in obtaining healthcare while also allowing states the ability to innovate.”

But Democratic U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor of Tampa called the ruling cruel.

“It’s irresponsible and cruel for Republicans to rip life-saving health coverage away from American families,” she tweeted. “Over 1 Million Floridians have signed up this year already and millions more w pre-existing conditions are protected under #AffordableCareAct.”

“Thanks to everyday Americans speaking out, Trump/GOP failed to repeal #ACA & its important provisions like pre-existing conditions protections, coverage for young people on parent’s plan til age 26, #Medicare savings & improvements Trump/GOP then commenced to undermine the law. Although I question the legal reasoning of Texas judge, we cannot be complacent. Your voices are needed again to stand up for affordable health care! We can improve the ACA, esp if GOP ends its unreasonable and costly assault on American families and their health #ProtectOurCare

U.S. Rep. Val Demings, one of multiple members of Congress who continued to remind Floridians on Twitter of the open enrollment deadline even after the court ruling, also criticized the legal attack on the ACA.

“You may have heard that the Affordable Care Act has been ruled unconstitutional by a Texas judge. This ruling does NOT change or negate your ability to get covered for 2019,” the Orlando Democrat wrote. “Today is STILL the last day of open enrollment. Go to http://HealthCare.gov  and pick the plan that works for you and your family. The Affordable Care Act has survived eight years of Republican attacks. We will fight this ruling.

“On November 6th, Americans made clear that they do not want to return to the days when just one illness or accident means a lifetime without health insurance. We are not going back. Sign up for health care today and protect yourself and your family. I am disappointed that Florida’s own Attorney General supported this effort to take health care away from millions of Americans. We will not give up this fight to protect Florida’s families.”

Democratic U.S. Rep. Ted Deutch of Boca Raton characterized the ruling as a partisan move.

“This judge sided w/ Republican Governors & the Trump Admin. who want to steal healthcare from millions of Americans, deny coverage for pre-existing conditions, & drag our country back to a time when healthcare was a privilege & not a right,” he tweeted.

Jacob Ogles

Jacob Ogles has covered politics in Florida since 2000 for regional outlets including SRQ Magazine in Sarasota, The News-Press in Fort Myers and The Daily Commercial in Leesburg. His work has appeared nationally in The Advocate, Wired and other publications. Events like SRQ’s Where The Votes Are workshops made Ogles one of Southwest Florida’s most respected political analysts, and outlets like WWSB ABC 7 and WSRQ Sarasota have featured his insights. He can be reached at [email protected].


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