Gov. Rick Scott putting brakes on health overhaul in Florida

4:51 PM, Feb 1, 2011   |    comments
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Tallahassee, Florida -- Gov. Rick Scott is stopping Florida from making preparations to implement the federal health care law.

Scott makes that decision following the ruling from a federal judge in Pensacola that says the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is unconstitutional.

Judge Roger Vinson ruled against the law's individual mandate, which would force people to buy health insurance or face a financial penalty.

Gov. Scott says he thinks the U.S. Supreme Court will ultimately declare the law unconstitutional so Florida should not take steps in the meantime to implement it.

"I personally have always believed that it was going to get repealed or declared unconstitutional because I think it's a significant job killer.  So one thing we're doing here is we are not going to spend a lot of time and money with regard to trying to get ready to implement that until we know exactly what's going to happen."

Judge Vinson's ruling prevents the individual mandate from being separated from the law, so the whole act goes down.

Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi says she thinks Florida will continue to take the lead on the lawsuit against the federal plan.  She hopes Vinson's ruling will stand out among the other rulings on the law.

"We have the best opinion right now in the country by Judge Vinson.  It was a 78-page opinion.  To me it was written like a law review article.  It was detailed.  It was well thought out.  He addressed many, many issues in detail and I think he gave a lot of information for the Supreme Court to use and consider."

Two federal judges have upheld the law, Vinson struck it down and a Virginia judge ruled the individual mandate was unconstitutional.

Senate Democratic Leader Nan Rich criticized the governor's decision.

"I am very disappointed by Republican Governor Rick Scott's reported decision to halt Florida's implementation of the federal health care law. I fear that what began as his own personal vendetta against the President's health care initiative has morphed into a personal war using the governor's office as his launching pad."

Dave Heller, 10 News