Thursday, November 25, 2010

Nothing better to do?

Even as the lawsuits challenging the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act continue to make their way through the courts, states continue to try to pass laws that would exempt them from compliance. Florida, the lead state in one of the lawsuits, is also trying to pass such a law.

Actually, it’s trying to change the state constitution – and it’s trying for the second time, after failing in its attempt last year.

According to Health News Florida earlier this week:

Florida Republican lawmakers are reviving a proposed constitutional amendment that takes aim at a major part of the federal health overhaul --- with Senate President Mike Haridopolos planning the unusual step of sponsoring the proposal himself.

Rep. Scott Plakon, R-Longwood, made sure the proposed amendment was the first piece of legislation filed in the House for the 2011 legislative session. It was formally filed at 11:58 a.m. last Tuesday, less than two hours after lawmakers gathered in Tallahassee to swear in members and select leaders.

The proposal, if ultimately approved by voters during the 2012 elections, is aimed at allowing Floridians to opt out of a federal requirement that they buy health insurance or face financial penalties. Lawmakers passed a largely identical proposal during the 2010 session, but the Florida Supreme Court blocked it from going on the November ballot because of misleading wording.

I realize that the Republican Party opposes the Affordable Care Act and is committed to doing all it can to kill it. I respect that fact that our system of law is proceeding to consider the charges, which are not without merit. It’s clear that the case will ultimately be decided by the Supreme Court.

So that being the case, I can’t help but be annoyed that the president of my state’s Senate chose this to be the lead issue to introduce for consideration in the upcoming Legislative session. Health News Florida notes that sponsoring the proposal himself is an “unusual step.”  "A Senate president has wide-ranging power but typically leaves filing such legislation to other members."

With the state’s unemployment among the highest in the nation, wouldn’t you think there were more pressing matters to be addressed by our elected officials?

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