Gov. Rick Scott won't back down on health care law

Florida voters shot down anti-health care amendment

Published On: Nov 07 2012 04:01:10 PM EST   Updated On: Nov 07 2012 04:22:56 PM EST
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SARASOTA, Fla. -

Florida led the fight against the Affordable Care Act at the U.S. Supreme Court and lost.

Gov. Rick Scott then chose not to seek federal funds for health care that are optional under the act. Now health care could very much be on the front burner again.

Exit polls show health care was one of the most important issues for Floridians who voted to re-elect the president.

Floridians also voted 51-48 to reject an anti-health care constitutional amendment. The amendment was put on the ballot by state lawmakers and tried to exempt Floridians from the Affordable Care Act.

Political scientist Carol Weissert believes the amendment's overwhelming defeat sends a clear message to the governor and lawmakers.

"The Medicare issue the exit polls, I think, found that it was pretty close, but there was some support for Obamacare, some support for the President's views on Medicare."

Florida could almost immediately bring a half-billion dollars to the state at little or no cost to expand children's health care.

The state still has the same Republican governor who is rejecting federal funds and the same Republican Legislature that put the amendment on the ballot. So the question the advocates are asking is: Are they listening to constituents?

Health care activists say the state is being shortsighted and, given Tuesday's vote, should reconsider not only the child health care money, but its refusal to set up health exchanges as well.

"This is an expansion of health coverage that will cover a lot of people currently struggling that are working poor basically," health care activist Brad Ashwell said.

Scott said Wednesday he still won't implement parts of Obama's health care overhaul despite the re-election of the president. Scott continued to say that the overhaul would be too expensive to carry out and would harm businesses by raising their costs.

The U.S. Supreme Court earlier this year upheld the law, but said that states could decide whether or not to expand Medicaid programs in order to help lower the number of uninsured residents.

Scott at the time said he would oppose the Medicaid expansion. He also said the state would not set up a state-run health exchange, a marketplace where people who need insurance policies could shop for them.

The federal government will set up exchanges in states that fail to act.

Florida lawmakers meet in March. Scott begins a re-election campaign in earnest after the first of the year.

The same exit poll that showed support for health care also showed those who voted for Obama felt he cared more about them than Romney.