March 18, 2011

Florida Senate Approves Opt-out Amendment To Obamacare

The Florida Senate passed (29-10) the proposed Florida State Health Care Freedom Amendment. All Republicans and one Democrat votes for the amendment. It now goes to the Florida House. If passed by the House, the proposed amendment to the Florida State Constitution will be placed on the ballot next November for Floridians to vote on. If approved by 3/5 of the votes the amendment would be approved. The amendment would allow any person or employer to opt out of the ObamaCare mandates for purchasing or providing health care coverage.

Senate President Mike Haritopoulos (R-Merritt Island) sponsored the proposal and put it on a fast track for passage in the first week of the session. He said, "This proposed constitutional amendment is about an individual’s right to make his own health care decisions without interference from the federal government. It also sends a message to Washington D.C. that its one-size-fits-all approach to health care doesn’t work. I’m thankful for the support of my Republican colleagues on this constitutional amendment. We believe in patient-centered, not government-centered health care. After approval from the House of Representatives, Floridians will have the opportunity to decide for themselves at the ballot box."

The Florida Supreme course stopped a similar amendment from appearing on the 2010 ballot by claiming that it was misleading. Sen. Haritopoulos included in the new proposal language to prevent this from happening again. The language states: "To preserve the freedom of all residents of the state to provide for their own health care.... A law or rule may not compel, directly or indirectly, any person, employer, or health care provider to participate in any health care system."

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