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Health News Florida

Gaetz Blames FL Standoff on Washington

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In a Q and A with Kaiser Health News, Florida Senate President Don Gaetz sounds some of the same anti-Washington themes as his House counterpart, Speaker Will Weatherford. Gaetz complained that  President Obama's plan for expanding health-care coverage to more than 1 million Floridians is too ambitious because it relies on the federal government funding it with borrowed money.

Gaetz said that if Florida ends the current session on Friday without reaching agreement on what to do about the expansion it will be the fault of Obama's Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, who he said should have been willing to meet states halfway. Florida might be willing to expand coverage by a smaller amount, he said.

He also said that if hospitals are complaining now about the loss of funds under the Affordable Care Act, they shouldn't have agreed to support the Act in the first place.

The American Hospital Association was one of many groups that agreed to support the federal health law, which passed in 2010, even though hospitals that treat a great many uninsured patients will lose Medicare funds that plugged that gap. Hospitals agreed to it because the law, as written, would provide health insurance to millions of uninsured patients.

However, the Florida House has rejected the federal funds that would pay for that expansion.