By Marianela Toledo | Florida Watchdog
MIAMI — Florida Gov. Rick Scott is steadfast in his opposition to the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling last week upholding most of the national Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.
“Florida will opt out of spending approximately $1.9 billion more taxpayer dollars required to implement a massive entitlement expansion of the Medicaid program,” the governor said in a statement released by his office.
Florida has rejected two optional parts of the program: additional Medicaid spending and an insurance exchange program.
The U.S. Supreme Court last week upheld most provisions in the health law that is a cornerstone of President Barack Obama‘s agenda.
“Another provision in the Affordable Care Act gives Governor Scott the flexibility to opt out of building insurance ‘exchanges’ that will result in higher insurance premium costs —more money out of the pockets of Florida’s families and businesses,” the governor’s statement read.
For Dr. Felix Godinez, a health law professor at Ana G. Mendez University in Miami, Scott’s decision is not outlandish.
“Other governors have done these exact type of actions in the past,” he told Florida Watchdog.
“In the case known as Brown v. Board of Education, the governor of Alabama refused to accept the order of the Supreme Court when it ordered desegregation in the schools,” said Godinez.
He even referred to the actions of an American president in the 19th century, who also disregarded a ruling of the nation’s highest court.
“President Andrew Jackson refused to accept the constitutional order concerning the Second Bank of the United States.”
The idea of rejecting the optional part of the law is not unreasonable, especially when concerned with economic consequences that could unfold in the future, Godinez said.
“The question is about the economic validity, and if this is more convenient for residents of Florida,” he said. “We are talking about a legal balance with important economic consequences.”
Dr. Peter Greer, dean of Florida International University‘s Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine in Miami, told a Spanish radio station that the plan would be an economic benefit in the long run.
“Medical costs will decrease with the health reform plan because the medical care of the uninsured — who could before only look to emergency rooms,” he said in the interview.
While most of the ACA was upheld, the Supreme Court declared constitutional the controversial section of the law that forces people to buy health insurance or pay a tax.