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FL GOP Splits Over Shutdown

Leon County Judge John Cooper on June 30, 2022, in a screen grab from The Florida Channel.
The Florida Channel
Leon County Judge John Cooper on June 30, 2022, in a screen grab from The Florida Channel.

At least eight Florida Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives have called for "defunding" the Affordable Care Act during budget talks in September, according to a list on a conservative blog.

Nine Florida Republican Representatives were still listed as holdouts on the Americans for Limited Government website as of Friday morning.

Presumably, the eight listed on the site are among the 80 members of Congress who signed a letter to Speaker John Boehner that was sent from the office of Rep. Mark Meadows of North Carolina, as the Washington Post reports.  The letter bears Wednesday's date, Aug. 21.

The letter says, among other things, that Republicans should "continue to try to repeal ObamaCare in its entirety this year, next year, and until we are successful. However, in the meantime, there is more we can do in Congress."

The letter contends that the health law cannot be fully implemented if funds for its implementation are removed from any appropriations bill brought to the House floor.

The letter quotes Founding Father James Madison's saying that the House's "power over the purse" may be the most effective weapon "for obtaining a redress of every grievance..." 

"We look forward to collaborating to defund one of the largest grievances in our time and to restore patient-centered healthcare in America," the letter concludes.

The signatures are hard to read, but the list on the blog of co-sponsors of HB 2682 -- which calls for stripping the funds from the health law -- is easy to see. The defunders are listed as Jeff Miller (Dist. 1), Steve Southerland (Dist. 2), Ted Yoho (Dist. 3), Ron DeSantis (Dist. 6), Bill Posey (Dist. 8), Gus Bilirakis (Dist. 12), Tom Rooney (Dist. 17) and Trey Radel (Dist. 19).

Republicans listed as not calling for the defunding are Ander Crenshaw (Dist. 4), John Mica (Dist. 7), Daniel Webster (Dist. 10), Rich Nugent (Dist. 11), C.W. "Bill" Young (Dist. 13), Dennis Ross (Dist. 15), Vern Buchanan (Dist. 16), Mario Diaz-Balart (Dist. 25), and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (Dist. 27).

The Republican Party of Florida, contacted by Health News Florida, declined to comment. In Washington, Republican leaders have been trying to put out the grassfire lit by some in their party who are willing to shut down the government if that's what it takes to derail what they call Obamacare.

In other news, during a Hialeah town hall meeting on the Affordable Care Act, state Sen. Rene Garcia, R-Hialeah, called the Florida Legislature “irresponsible” for not accepting federal money to expand coverage to more than 1 million low-income adults, the Miami Herald reports.

The Senate passed a plan that would have used the money -- more than $50 billion over a decade -- but House Republicans, led by Speaker Will Weatherford, blocked it. Garcia is a hospital administrator, and hospitals are among the hardest-hit by the decision, since the money would have covered many of their non-paying patients.

Carol Gentry, founder and special correspondent of Health News Florida, has four decades of experience covering health finance and policy, with an emphasis on consumer education and protection.