Fla. Sen. Haridopolos Wants Waiver for Obamacare

Friday, 22 Oct 2010 03:51 PM

By Dan Weil

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Republican Florida State Sen. Mike Haridopolos, who’s slated to be president of that body after the election, sees a way to lessen the sting of the new healthcare law on Florida.

While, he’d love to see the law repealed, opting out isn’t an option now, the University of Florida history lecturer tells Newsmax.TV. “I’m going to ask for a waiver from Obamacare. We might have that in a couple weeks,” he says. “It’s not opting out, but I want flexibility.”

The idea is that Washington sends a certain amount of money to Florida for healthcare spending, and the state gets flexibility over how it administers Medicaid. “Medicaid is $20 billion out of a $70 billion state budget, and it’s growing exponentially,” says Haridopolos.

Story continues below video.


“[That’s] because now we have 2.9 million Floridians on Medicaid, and with Obamacare it will go to 4.4 million. We can’t afford that.”

So will the federal government’s requirement that Florida spend more cause the state to impose an income tax?

“On my watch there will never be a state income tax,” Haridopolos says. “But that’s their agenda in Washington. If they put enough mandates on states, what are we going to do, turn the keys in?”

There is universal agreement that Medicaid is broken, he says. “And what do they [in Washington] do -- expand it by almost 50 percent.”

Haridopolos says that to lessen Florida’s dependence on tourism, “we need common sense tort reform.” Companies are attracted to Florida by its right-to-work rules and absence of an income tax. “What they’re worried about is lawsuits and will we start to increase taxes to make up for the hole,” he says.

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