Florida's Atwater: Obamacare a Disaster

Thursday, 12 Aug 2010 02:42 PM

By Dan Weil

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Jeff Atwater, president of the Florida state senate, has harsh words for the new healthcare reform law.

“Obamacare is a disaster,” the candidate for Florida’s chief financial officer told Newsmax.TV.

“It will be catastrophic for Florida’s financial situation, for every hardworking Floridian who’s going to be tapped for more money to pay for all this.”



A whopping 25 percent of Florida’s budget already goes to Medicaid, he says. The healthcare law could double the state’s enrollees in the program, so its portion of the budget could rise to 50 percent.

The federal government promises to pay for the Medicaid increase. But that just means Floridians will pay for it, Atwater says.

“They’re saying we’ll just tap more out of your income and send it to Washington to send it back to Tallahassee to create a government run healthcare program rather than the healthcare program that’s been working for you.”

Atwater supports Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum’s lawsuit against healthcare reform and thinks it will succeed. “The federal government shouldn’t be creating taxes or penalties on Americans for not buying products they want them to own.”

Atwater is put off by the cat fight between McCollum and his opponent Rick Scott in the Republican primary for governor. “It’s not good for any party’s top tier candidates to get into character attacks,” Atwater said.

In the race for U.S. Senate, Atwater says he is certain Republican Marco Rubio will win against independent Gov. Charlie Crist and whichever Democrat wins the primary.

“There’s never been a clearer choice. There’s Marco Rubio who believes in the people of Florida and their wisdom, and there are two candidates [Crist and the Democratic winner] who believe that if we just send more money to Washington, we can disburse it in a way that will create more wealth.”

Arizona is on solid ground with its immigration law, Atwater says. “The first role of government is to protect its citizens and their property,” he said. “When the federal government fails miserably, Arizona had every right to provide a secure and safe environment for their citizens.”

Every state should have that right, he says.

There is one area in which Atwater agrees with the Obama administration: its mortgage modification program.

“The spirit is right: let’s modify mortgages and keep people in their homes,” Atwater said.

Bankers are working in good faith, he says. “They never want the asset back that they’re lending on, and they need to be thoughtful in modifying mortgages so they’re not forcing a take-back of collateral,” he said.

The problem is that banks are being hampered by regulation. For example they have to mark their assets to market, forcing them to call small business loans.

“We need to trust the people out there building their businesses and in their homes making mortgage payment and not trying to make regulators happy by forcing people out of their houses,” Atwater said.

“There’s more regulator pressure forcing banks to go after property owners rather than allowing banks to work with them.”

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