By Marianela Toledo | Florida Watchdog
MIAMI— Florida Gov. Rick Scott said he believes the U.S. Supreme Court will strike down the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, championed as President Barack Obama’s hallmark legislation in 2010.
In a conference call with reporters Wednesday, Scott said the law, as it stands, is a “disaster for patients,” adding that he is optimistic the national health-care law will be found unconstitutional when the court files its opinion this month.
“Every government program in the world overpromises, runs out of money, doesn’t promptly pay providers —hospitals and physicians — which means it’s more difficult to get care,” said Scott on the call co-sponsored by the Franklin Center for Government and Public Integrity.
“Because the costs are so high, it raises taxes, which impacts businesses and which impacts jobs. The real cost is going to be if it’s declared constitutional and not repealed.”
Scott, who did not accept initial federal funds to begin the program, said he would prefer more competition in the health-care marketplace, reduced costs and improved access and quality of service.
“If we allow people to buy the insurance they want, rather than having the government tell them to buy, ultimately, that will lower the cost,” said Scott, who founded Conservatives for Patients’ Rights, a health-care lobbying group, in February 2009.
One of the most important points discussed in the U.S. Supreme Court case deals with the federal obligation to obtain a health insurance policy or face fines enforced by the government, a driving force of Scott’s initial campaign against the law before his time as governor.
Miami Attorney Nicholas Recoba, who followed the oral arguments of the Supreme Court, said the government’s argument for the individual mandate relied too heavily on the Commerce clause, the constitutional provision that grants authority to Congress to regulate commerce between and among the states.
“The law is looking to universalize the health system across all the states, and this is something they really don’t have to power to do, at least constitutionally,” Recoba told Florida Watchdog.
Manny Manso, vice president with the insurance company Advantica Inc., told Florida Watchdog that the U.S. Supreme Court will uphold the law, serving as a great benefit to insurance companies and individuals alike.
“If (the law) can make it easier for insurance companies to cover patients, especially those with pre-existing conditions, then obviously the court will uphold the reform,” said Manso.
The White House has said the law will cover about 26 million people currently without health insurance, as well as barring companies from refusing to cover patients with pre-existing conditions.
Faced with the possibility that the court will uphold the law, Scott said he would follow the law.
“If the court determines it is constitutional, we will comply, but I am very optimistic that the court rule against it,” said Scott.
Watch the Spanish-language interviews with insurance industry representative Manny Manso and attorney Nicholas Recoba: