|By John Kennedy, The Palm Beach Post, Fla.|
|McClatchy-Tribune Information Services|
"I come from a generation taught not to ask for much," said Rosenberg, 68, of
But losing her job in 2010, followed by kidney failure, which put her in the hospital last year and then onto a regimen of costly medications, soon taught her otherwise, she said.
Money got tight, and she looked for help.
"I found out I qualified for
But it is dividing the Republican-led Legislature, which begins the annual session
Many business leaders warn against the law's potential cost, penalties that loom over employers and the paperwork complexities it will bring.
Nurses support it but acknowledge that the federal overhaul will add to an already 55,000-nurse shortage in the state. Hospitals, lobbying hard for
That heightens the need for
Watch the deficit in D.C.
But deficit hawks warn the state shouldn't rely on
Already, after weeks of contentious committee debate in
"I can see how it's going to change human behavior and change market forces," Lee said. "It's stunning and that's what I'm trying to get my head around."
Scott, though, last week sought to simplify the issue. He urged lawmakers to embrace the expansion -- at least for the three-year trial when it is fully financed by the federal government.
Scott recalled his late mother's struggle to raise five children on a modest income under a cloud of worry about maintaining health coverage.
Scott backs expansion
Defying conservatives in his own party, Scott said he wants
"My mom was a proud, strong woman who wanted to make it on her own without help," Scott recalled. "But how would she have felt if she knew she was denied help that she was already paying for?"
"Look, I don't think anybody wants to ask for help," she said. "But being able to get health care is going to save money in the long run."
So far, behind Scott's earlier resistance,
After missing deadlines for setting up its own health exchange,
State analysts say that as many as two-thirds of Floridians are currently covered by employer health insurance.
Some workers with employer-provided coverage may opt to find cheaper insurance through the exchange. But most now with insurance should expect little change, although conservatives warn costs could rise.
Businesses and part-timers
Under the law, businesses with at least 50 full-time workers -- or the equivalent, including part-timers -- also must begin offering health insurance to those who work at least 30 hours a week. Employers that don't provide coverage must pay a
This employer mandate kicks in next January. Critics warn it could prompt layoffs, as companies try to get under the threshold.
"Businesses really have to be getting prepared for this," said
Since governments are employers,
With all the talk of health coverage, state
But the central focus of the Affordable Care Act in
House opposes expansion
Scott regularly battled with outnumbered Democrats his first two years as governor. But on expansion, the partisan lines have blurred.
Democrats overwhelmingly favor the move. But the Republican-controlled House is dug in against expansion, while
House Democratic Leader
Under the expansion, the federal government would pay for 100 percent of the expansion until 2016, when states would start paying a 5 percent share that would gradually increase to a maximum of 10 percent of new costs by 2020.
Estimates vary, but analysts have said
The program also would be opened for the first time to non-disabled adults without dependent children -- a population that
In January, individuals earning roughly
'You don't get a do-over'
State Agriculture Commissioner
"In three years, you don't get a do-over just because it sunsets, which is a classic
Health care leaders, however, say that if more uninsured Floridians were covered by
"There's just too much money on the table... for
Before the legislature
Approval of an expansion of
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