Florida Lawmakers Have Mixed Reactions To GOP’s Health Care Bill

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MIAMI (CBSMiami) — There’s mixed reviews among local lawmakers over the Senate Republican’s health care bill, unveiled Thursday.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) unveiled the bill meant to repeal and replace ‘Obamacare’ after weeks of not releasing details on the plan.

Shortly after the announcement, the responses started coming in.

Democratic Senator Bill Nelson issued his opinion on the bill, calling it ‘bad’ and critiquing GOP leaders for writing the bill behind closed doors.

“Now we know why they tried to keep this secret. This bill is just as bad as the House bill, taking coverage away from millions of people and making huge cuts to Medicaid. If that weren’t enough, it also allows insurance companies to hike rates for older Americans. Fixing our nation’s health care system shouldn’t be a partisan issue. We should be working together, not plotting behind closed doors to make it worse,” said Senator Bill Nelson (D-FL).

The office of Republican Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) had a more reserved reaction, releasing the following statement:

“Senator Rubio will decide how to vote on health care on the basis of how it impacts Florida. He has already spoken to Governor Scott, Senate President Negron and Speaker Corcoran about the first draft of this proposal. He has instructed his staff to share with state leaders the first draft and has asked them to run numbers and provide input on how this initial proposal would impact Florida’s Medicaid program and individual insurance marketplace. He has invited them to send staff to Washington next week to help us formulate changes and amendments to this proposal. He will continue to reach out for input and suggested changes from Florida providers, insurers and patient advocate groups.”

Some members of the House also had something to say about it. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz considers the bill no better than the one unveiled by the House which the president previously called ‘mean.’

“This version is certainly no better than the House version. It just cuts people in different gutless and heartless ways. This is devastating to people who now finally have the ability to go to the doctor when they are sick, make sure they can catch illness early and make sure that when illness is potentially life-threatening, they will be able to survive it. As a breast cancer survivor, I caught my breast cancer early because you could go right to the doctor. And this plan, heartless plan will deny people that ability,” said Wasserman Schultz while on CNN.

Florida Governor Rick Scott spoke on Fox News Thursday saying a health care plan should treat states fairly.

“Whatever they come out with, they’ve got to keep all states paid [equally],” said Scott before the GOP released the plan.

As for what is in the plan, it eliminates the individual mandate meaning people will be forced to buy their own health insurance if their employer does not provide it.

It also eliminates taxes linked to the Affordable Care Act, also known as ‘Obamacare.’

The plan also makes substantial cuts to Medicaid but not as quickly as the previous House bill to repeal and replace.

For those with pre-existing conditions, some protections remain.

Once the plan was released President Donald Trump said some details needed to be negotiated.

Four Republicans including Senator Ted Cruz and Senator Rand Paul said they will not vote on the bill as it is now – putting a possible passage of the bill in jeopardy.

The bill would need 51 votes to pass the Senate. As it stands, there are 52 Republicans, 46 Democrats and 2 Independents in the Senate.

More from Giovanna Maselli
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