Health care expansion resistance remains strong in Florida House

Petition supporting health care expansion given to House speaker


TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – After a half-day health care workshop, resistance to expanding health care remains strong in the Florida House, and the opposition might have as much to do with what's in the bill as what it's being called.

A handful of young professionals delivered a petition with 13,000 names supporting health care expansion to the House speaker.

"I'm actually one of the 300,000 young Americans who are in the coverage gap," said Katharine Huddleston, a second-year law student.

It appeared to fall on deaf ears.

"When I was 21 years old, I was diagnosed with psoriasis. It's a chronic autoimmune condition," Huddleston said. "Although it doesn't have a cure, with consistent, regular medication I can live a normal, productive life."

Republicans agree that part of the problem is the law's name.

"Do you think the debate would be different if it was called something other than Obamacare?" asked reporter Mike Vasilinda.

"Probably," Sen. Denise Grimsley said.

"Why do you say that?" Vasilinda asked.

"I just think it's very political," said Grimsley.

"Well, Obamacare is the kryptonite word among us Republicans," Sen. Don Gaetz said.

Democrats said there is no question that the nickname for the Affordable Care Act is a problem.

"Are we really going to get caught up in semantics here when we have 800,000 people in the state of Florida that don't go to the doctor?" asked Rep. Janet Cruz.

Meanwhile, a Senate committee continued to make changes to the plan in an effort to meet objections in the House. While House Speaker Steve Cristifulli didn't use the nickname Obamacare, he did say this:

"You know, there's a saying if it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck, it's a duck. It's Medicaid expansion," Cristifulli said.

The apparent agreement for the special session was that the House would at least give the health care plan a vote on the floor. That's scheduled for Friday.

The Senate would need all 39 House Democrats and 22 Republicans to vote yes to pass the health care expansion.

A state economist told senators that their FIHX plan would save the state more than $1 billion over 10 years. The House and the governor have said that the plan amounts to a tax increase.