The Florida officials who spearheaded the appeal of sweeping health care law say they were shocked the Supreme Court upheld the law.
Attorney General Pam Bondi and her predecessor Bill McCollum led the 26 states in the appeal to get the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act declared unconstitutional, filing the suit immediately after it passed in March 2010.
Minutes after the decision was released, Bondi said she was shocked by the ruling. Bondi said the court decided the government cannot impose an individual mandate under the commerce clause, but justices ruled it's a tax and that's why the law can be upheld.
"All of us who are disappointed with the ultimate outcome today cannot lose sight of what we accomplished," Bondi said. "We fought for the principle that the Constitution limits Congress's power to direct the lives of our people, and on that point, we won."
In the two years that the case made its way through the appeals process, Republican Gov. Rick Scott ordered the state not to accept federal money. Florida has rejected or declined to pursue more than $106 million and has returned $4.5 million.
"Today’s decision by the Supreme Court of the United States is simply disappointing," Scott said in a statement. "This is just another burden the federal government has put on American families and small businesses"
Florida's senators followed their party's positions on the health care law:
"A lot of us feel the health-care law wasn’t perfect, but it was needed," said Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla. "We passed legislation to prevent insurers from running roughshod over people. And today, the Supreme Court upheld most of these reforms."
"What’s important to remember is that what the Court rules on is whether something is constitutional or not, not whether it's a good idea," Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., said in a statement. "And while the Court has said that the law is constitutional, it remains a bad idea for our economy, and I hope that in the fall we will have a majority here that will not just repeal this law, but replace it with real solutions that will insure more people and cost a lot less money."
About 3.8 million Floridians, or about 21 percent of residents of the state, are uninsured.
The state has its own health insurance exchanges, mainly for small businesses but without an individual mandate. The state has not implemented an exchange that would meet the requirements of the federal law.
The state's chief financial officer, Jeff Atwater, was so sure the law opponents call ObamaCare would be overturned, his office sent out a statement quoting him praising the court's "rejection of the individual mandate." Nearly two hours later, an updated statement saying his office continued to "sort through the complexity of the recent Supreme Court ruling."