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Delay In Large-Employer Insurance Mandate Gets Mixed Reactions In Florida

Some business groups see a decision by the Obama Administration to delay a key part of the Affordable Care Act as a small victory in a bigger fight against the law, while others view it as start to scoring larger victories.

Employers with 50 or more employees will now have until 2015 to offer health insurance – a year later than the original deadline. Herrle says the delay is a small win, but there are still concerns:

“We’ve got to welcome the breather here, but on the other hand all this does is perpetuate the uncertainty businesses face," said National Federation of Independent Business Florida Executive Director Bill Herrle.

The Florida legislature recently passed a law requiring coverage to be available for state workers with 30 or more hours on the job each week.  The Affordable Care Act carries the same mandate. Senate President Don Gaetz has also sent a letter to U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius seeking more flexibility in implementing another key part of the law: allowing more low-income people to become eligible for Medicaid. Florida lawmakers rejected a Medicaid expansion earlier this year.

In a statement, Senate Minority Leader Chris Smith said, "the longer they wait, the more tax payers are on the hook for expensive emergency room care because one million Floridians will remain without health insurance for yet another year.

Smith added,“I urge the Governor and the Republican legislative leadership to not take this extra time for granted or use it as an excuse to avoid doing what’s right for the people of Florida.”

A plan in the Senate to accept the federal dollars and expand Medicaid had bipartisan support in the chamber, but the House refused to accept it. In a twitter comment, House Speaker Will Weatherford said, "Count on more reversals, changes & unraveling of ObamaCare. There is no way the Feds can make good on their promises".

Follow @HatterLynn

Lynn Hatter is a Florida A&M University graduate with a bachelor’s degree in journalism. Lynn has served as reporter/producer for WFSU since 2007 with education and health care issues as her key coverage areas.  She is an award-winning member of the Capital Press Corps and has participated in the NPR Kaiser Health News Reporting Partnership and NPR Education Initiative. 

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