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Unions fight Gov. Rick Scott over prison health care

3:34 PM, Jul 18, 2012   |    comments
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TALLAHASSEE, Florida - Florida labor unions are battling Gov. Rick Scott over his plan to privatize health care in state prisons.

The American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees and the Florida Nurses Association asked a judge to block the privatization effort, but the judge declined to make a ruling in the case.

Now Gov. Scott says he will move ahead with the privatization to try to save money. He believes the state can save at least seven percent by hiring private firms to provide health care services to inmates.

But AFSCME attorney Alma Gonzalez says there's no requirement for any savings after the first year of the contract so she expects rising costs in the long term.

Plus, Gonzalez says the legal battle is not over and the union will continue to press the issue in court.

"We think that the administration's decision to try to move forward with the execution of those contracts is completely against the law. The case that we have with regard to this issue is still pending before the court. There's a motion for a rehearing pending and so to say that they've gotten the go-ahead is absolutely inaccurate and it's unlawful."

Florida Corrections Secretary Ken Tucker says he will award the health care contracts to Corizon Inc. of Brentwood, Tennessee and Wexford Health Sources of Pittsburgh.

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