In August, the Florida State Supreme Court struck down a ballot amendment that would let the state opt out of federal health care reform, calling the amendment misleading. The republican legislators behind the push are back for round two, this time expecting a different outcome.
It's a prescription for independence Mike Haridopolos calls long overdue, and Wednesday, the Republican Senate president won a key victory in his fight to repeal 'Obamacare' in Florida.
The Senate Health Regulation Committee approved Haridopolos' so-called 'Health Care Freedom Act'. It's now on the fast track to pass the full legislature and ultimately make it to the 2012 ballot.
“This is not a mandate from us, just the opposite,” said Hardipolos. “We feel like we're reaching out to people, and given how my emails are coming in, people strongly support this idea and we're going to do our best to defend it.”
Just when you thought the republican plan to repeal Obamacare was left for dead, well there's a heartbeat. But democrats say it still doesn't have the backbone to pass constitutional muster.
The Florida Supreme Court struck down the bill's predecessor because of confusing language. Republican leaders are confident the new version is crystal-clear, but democratic Representative Rick Kriseman says there's a bigger issue: the fact that health care reform and its mandate that people buy insurance is part of federal law.
Kriseman argues states don't have the power to opt-out.
“Instead of being concerned about issues that are most important to Floridians, which are jobs, jobs, jobs and jobs, we're going to spend time debating a bill that's been found unconstitutional once and probably will be again,” he said.
Haridopolos doesn't disagree it'll be a delicate operation, but thanks to the growing belief Washington has overstepped its authority, he's confident the prognosis looks good.
The opt-out legislation is co-sponsored by every republican member of the state Senate. Since republicans control both chambers, it's expected to pass by overwhelming majorities.