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By Marianela Toledo and Yaël Ossowski | Florida Watchdog
MIAMI— After the Supreme Court‘s 5-4 ruling upholding the mandatory purchase of health insurance, much concern has been raised about the now-constitutional ‘health tax’ that Americans will be required to be pay.
Florida officials were quick to point to the “ultimate deception” of President Barack Obama and the Democratic Congress that passed the bill in 2010.
“The Supreme Court said it was a tax, which is exactly the opposite of what the president has said all along and what most individuals who voted for it said,” a disappointed Gov. Rick Scott said in a news conference Thursday afternoon after the ruling was announced.
“I think the right thing to do, because it was a tax, is that everyone who said that it wasn’t a tax, they need to repeal it. They need to go out and work actively to get rid of that tax.”
Scott underscored the “devastating impact” the soon-to-be-implemented health care law would have on businesses and jobs — the same message he trumpeted while running for governor in 2010.
Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi, who also won election to her position in 2010 based on her steadfast opposition to the bill known as “Obamacare,” was visibly shaken by the court’s decision.
“Were we expecting this ruling? No, of course not. We do have to decide what to do, and we have to do it very quickly, working with our governor and our Legislature,” said Bondi on the steps of the Capitol building hours after the ruling.
In her capacity as state Attorney General, Bondi continued the work of her predecessor, Bill McCollum, who filed the initial lawsuit that resulted in Thursday’s Supreme Court decision. She refused to declare the ruling a complete loss.
“All of us are disappointed, of course, by the ultimate outcome today. But we cannot lose sight of what we accomplished. We fought for the principle that the Constitution’s limits on Congress are very real and they affect the lives of people — and on that point, we won.”
Manny Manso, vice president with insurance company Advantica Inc., based in Clearwater, said the decision clears the uncertainty of the millions of Americans who long awaited the high court’s decision.
“But there are many people who will still prefer to pay the fine than get insurance,” Manso admitted to Florida Watchdog.
The Congressional Budget Office reported in 2010 that the fine would equal to $750 per uninsured adult and $375 per child.
Miami attorney Marili Cancio disagreed with the decision of the court, telling Florida Watchdog that, “taxpayers will basically have to pay more than $1 trillion in higher taxes.”
“This does not solve the problem of almost 26 million residents that who are financially able to not buy insurance. This will cause the unemployment rate to remain high by the increased burdens on small businesses,” said Cancio.
Republicans U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio and U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, District 18,took to social media channels to weighed in to criticize the law and demand its repeal:
— Marco Rubio (@marcorubio) June 28, 2012
— Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (@RosLehtinen) June 28, 2012
Josephine Mercado of the Hispanic Health Initiative, a nonprofit health care organization based in Orlando, praised the ruling and the upheld law.
“Carrying out this law will offer care to over 11 million Hispanic families,” Mercado said.
Manny Diaz, the former mayor of Miami-Dade County and an enthusiastic supporter of Obama, took the airwaves to celebrate what he considered a victory.
“This will help the Democrats,” Diaz said in an interview with Univision. ”This decision is favorable to Hispanics.
In front of the Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami, the reaction of local residents was mixed. Some said they were pleased with the decision, while others fretted what it may do to their hopes for affordable health insurance.
“If people have no money to pay for a taxi, how are they supposed to pay all these insurance costs,” one taxi driver quipped to Florida Watchdog.
On the street reactions to the court’s ruling:
- Is Gov. Rick Scott abusing his executive powers?
- Democrats Outraged, Forced to Vote on Obamacare Repeal Bill
- Angelina Jolie
- Surprise! Obamacare Creating Some Jobs
- Will Charlie Crist Ever Answer Weatherford’s Two Simple Questions?