On Monday December 3, 2012 the Senate Select committe on the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) met to discuss the best way for the government of the state of Florida to proceed with relation to federal implementation of PPACA. The committee heard presentations from state staffers on the concept of creating a state-based insurance exchange, expanding medicaid and the fiscl impact of these and other policies. Chair Joe Negron stated his goals were to 1) Protect Individual Choice; 2) Limit regulatory burden on Florida businesses and 3) Promote competition and value in health care. There was no public testimony in favor of PPACA or in favor of implementing a state based exchange or expansion of medicaid. However there was generous testimony from many opposed to implementation of PPACA in Florida, including the creation of a state-based insurance exchange . These members of various Florida tea party groups stated they would not comply with the mandates and they expected the state government to protect their constitutional rights. What was reported on by the media however was a true error on the parts of the some engaging in public testimony: their disrespectful and inappropriate behavior during a small part of the meeting. They were speaking over a sitting senator, Chris Smith (D), the minority leader from Broward County as he was representing his constituents. Today, leaders from the Florida Alliance, a collection of state tea party and liberty activist groups, went on the record relating to their position on implementation of PPACA in Florida. They also issued an apology for the behavior of others they described as “an over-abundance of passion for freedom”. They also sympathized with their compatriots who “were spontaneously trying to participate in a process that has been frustrating and opaque for years”.
The Florida Alliance also pointed out better ways for the state to create conditions to increase access to lower cost and higher quality of care that focussed on patient financial empowerment to see doctors who have opted out of the rationing imposed by the government and insurance companies through PPACA. Finally they pointed out the many problems with PPACA such as increased health insurance premiums, rationing and interferernce in the patient-physician relationship.
The letter is being delivered to the office of Senator Joe Negron and sent by email to committee members and Senate President Don Gaetz as well as the press.
Senator Joe Negron
3500 SW Corporate Parkway
Palm City, FL 34990
December 6, 2012
On behalf of the dozens of tea party groups we represent, The Florida Alliance wishes to express our appreciation for your efforts to evaluate the proper response for the government of the state of Florida as the Federal government seeks to implement “Obamacare” (the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, PPACA). We recognize that there will be a great deal of information for you and your committee to digest as you evaluate policy and law while deciding how best to proceed. You will need to best determine the best way to defend the natural rights of Floridians protected by the Florida and U.S. Constitutions. We would like your committee and all elected officials to consider the very important and extremely negative aspects of PPACA as we briefly describe here. We also wish you to recognize that there are alternative pathways for achieving markedly increased access to lower cost and higher quality health care and health insurance for Florida that are outside those envisioned in PPACA. Finally, we wish to apologize for the behavior of some of our compatriots who were over-enthusiastic and inappropriate at the Select Senate Committee on PPACA meeting this week.
We remind you here of what you already know. PPACA will continue to increase the cost of insurance premiums. It will create a system of government and corporate control that interferes with the patient-physician relationship. PPACA will allow government panels to create rationing protocols to save money, while harming patients and then empower insurance companies to impose them on patients. PPACA will be another economically unsustainable government program that will raise taxes, increase borrowing and further weaken our country and our state financially. Finally, many of our fellow patriots will choose not to comply with the mandates and control structures of PPACA. They are asking you to ensure that their natural rights as protected by the Florida Constitution are defended to the greatest extent possible; this is consistent with the federal model of government and the rights protected by the tenth amendment of the U.S. Constitution. We remind you that Governors of Texas, Georgia, Ohio, Arizona and others have already decided not to implement State Based Exchanges. They recognize they would have a state-based exchange “in name only” and that the federal control and federally imposed costs of setting up such an exchange was not in the best interests of their citizens. In fact, the state of Oklahoma is challenging what they describe as an unlawful attempt by the IRS to impose penalties on Employers who do not comply with PPACA through Federally-Facilitated Exchanges. We believe the Oklahoma lawsuit should be completely resolved prior to any consideration whatsoever by Florida to create any sort of State Based Exchange or Federal-State partnership for an exchange under PPACA.
We also know there are better ways to improve access to lower cost, higher quality care than expanding the status quo of government and insurance company control of health care spending and decisions. To name but a few, they include: 1) individual financial empowerment through health savings accounts linked to high deductible health plans; 2) interstate purchasing of health insurance and life-time portability of health insurance from job to job; 3) availability of an equal tax deduction for individual purchase of health insurance outside of work; and 4) de-regulation of the insurance market to remove mandated purchase of unwanted health benefits. Furthermore the legal right of patients should be reinstated so they can bring portable Medicare or other insurance benefits to see any doctor of their choice. These patients could choose doctors they trust and enter into a private contract for their services for a fee that is not covered by the insurance benefits they already purchased. This would enable doctors to spend more time with their patient and ignore the rationing and control protocols that drive up health costs, produce no patient benefit and interfere in the patient-physician relationship. This will allow doctors to escape from the rationing structures established in PPACA and ensure they serve only their patients rather than a cost-saving regimen that will benefit third parties. Patient need to trust their doctors, and that trust will be diminished when doctors are constantly penalized for failing to comply with suspect government “quality and efficiency” standards. Finally, there needs to be a role for empowering charity care at the community level. We know that when prices are driven down by market forces, patients of all income levels benefit. “Affordable health insurance” doesn’t come from having the government send a check to an insurance company to pay part of a patient’s mandated, higher cost, low-value, nationalized health insurance. Affordable health insurance comes from lower costs that can only be truly created through choice and competition with empowered consumers in charge of their medical spending and decisions in a free market.
Finally, we again apologize for the passionate outbursts at your committee meeting on 12/3/2012 by people who were solely representing themselves. Tea Party leaders in Florida as represented by The Florida Alliance have long rejected organized and planned tactics by groups like Code Pink, MoveOn.org and Occupy Wall Street to shout people down in meetings. Our compatriots were responding from an over-abundance of passion for freedom. They were spontaneously trying to participate in a process that has been frustrating and opaque for years and their response was not pre-meditated and not intended to interfere in your process. However, speaking over a sitting Senator who is using his allotted time to represent his constituents is unacceptable. We cannot allow basic rules of civil conduct to be violated and we will endeavor to ask our fellow patriots to respect the process in ways we ask to be respected as well. We stand ready to assist you in your efforts to protect the natural rights of Floridians protected by the Florida and U.S. constitution to life, liberty and property.
David McKalip, M.D., for the Florida Alliance
Tom Gaitens, Florida Alliance
Kathy Gibson, Executive Board, Florida Alliance
Pat Wayman, Florida Alliance, Venice 912
Paula Schaff, Punta Gorda Tea Party
Karin Hoffman, D.C. Works for Us
Don Forward, Titusville Patriots
Sharon Calvert, Tampa Tea Party
Barbara Knick, Brevard 912
Carole McManus and Leanne King, First Coast Tea Party
Walter Hughes, American Citizens League
Kimberly Kelley and Tim Curtis, Tampa 912
Tina Woode, Sanford/Lake Mary 912 Project
Tony Ledbetter, Volusia 912 Patriots
Bill Landes, Florida Minuteman.Org
Barbara Haselden, South Pinellas 912
Pam Wohlschlegel, Palm Beach County Tea Party