Heath care troubles could grow exponentially

Fate of 1.3 million Floridians' health insurance in question


TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – After being defeated last week, the push for expanded health care is already underway for the coming session, and the fate of 1.3 million Floridians' health insurance, which is in the hands of the U.S. Supreme Court, could speed up the debate.

When Amy Datz retired from the state, her health insurance jumped to $1,600 a month.

"My pension was only 22. How many of you could live on $400 a month?" Datz asked.

So Datz and her husband enrolled in Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare.

"We saved $10,000 a year in health care costs," Datz said.

Now, the future of her reduced health insurance and that of 1.3 million other Floridians is in question. The U.S. Supreme Court is considering whether subsidies can be legally be provided in states without a heath exchange.

"And that would be disastrous," Rep. Ed Narain said.

One concern is that if the plan is ruled unconstitutional, those 1.3 million Floridians will end up in the emergency room.

Under the health care plan that was passed by the state Senate and blocked by the House, Florida would have had an exchange.

Now, without one, the man who crafted a plan to reimburse hospitals for uncompensated care, said the problem could only get worse.

"We're waiting to see what the decision is when it comes out, and it's a serious concern," Sen. Renee Garcia said. "You know, it's 1.3 million people that will be left without insurance in the state of Florida."

The court ruling is expected before the end of the month. But state lawmakers aren't back at the Capitol until September.

House minority leader Mark Pafford is suggesting that if the court rules against health subsidies not provided by state exchanges, Florida lawmakers will have to come back to the Capitol for yet another summer special session.