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Will bickering and infighting characterize Florida’s special session

Roger Caldwell

Roger Caldwell

Will bickering and infighting characterize Florida’s special session

By Roger Caldwell

      The special session starts on Monday, June 1, 2015, at 1 p.m., and the House is scheduling a hearing on the Senate’s health insurance reform plan. The plan is called the Florida Health Insurance Exchange, or FHIX, and this was not done at the first legislative session. This is the first time in 23 years, that Florida lawmakers ended its regular session without a state budget.

Both Houses are blaming each other for not doing their job, but now with the special session they must finish their work. “We know how to get this done from where we are. It just may require a lot more compromise,” says Senator Tom Lee, R-Brandon, The Senate Appropriations Committee chairman.

It would appear too many political experts that compromise should not be hard to do, because all the leaders of both Houses are Republican. But the leaders at the last legislature session refused to talk to each other, and the House members left the session early. This was a very dysfunctional legislative session, and everyone is hoping that the members of both Houses have turned the page.

Both leaders in the Florida legislature are determined to pass a budget, and the schedule calls for meetings to continue throughout the week, with Senate agreeing to take up a series of House proposals containing Health care costs. Budget conference meeting between the House and Senate are set to start as early as next weekend.

This is great news for Floridians, because it appeared that members from the Republican Party were not able to work together. When members of the same party cannot work or talk to each other, bills is not paid and the government is forced to shut down.

As the Florida legislature gets closer to the government shut down date of July 1, 2015, Governor Scott has made some disparaging remarks that can create a divide, which can hurt the special session. Instead of letting the two Houses resolve their differences, the governor last week threatened a veto with the FHIX, and the sessions and discussions have not started.

“I’m not doing it. I ‘can’t think of any health care programs that have no cost. I mean there’s nothing free out there right? The study out there says it’s going to cost $5 billion over the first 10 years and look at history, if you look at Medicare, how much Medicare costs today than what they anticipated – Medicaid,” Scott told the Herald/Times last week.

On May 21, the Center for Medicare and Medicaid announced that the state would get only $1 billion of the $2.2 billion it received last year for “The Low Income Pool (LIP).” This will help Florida, but still there is a loss of $1.2 billion and the Affordable Care Act could make up the difference.

The lawmakers are considered professionals and hopefully they will be able to compromise. The special session is starting, and the infighting must stop if the legislature is going to get a budget passed by June 20th.


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