Florida Gov. Rick Scott (R) and state legislators are really struggling with President Barack Obama's health care reform law.
Scott, who made his name in politics as a deep-pocketed Obamacare hater, already decided Florida wouldn't create a health insurance exchange under the law. The question of whether the state will take part in health care reform's Medicaid expansion is still up in the air (though Scott has stopped touting inaccurate claims about its costs, at least). And Florida was one of the 27 states that sued to block the law and lost before the Supreme Court last June.
Turns out the health care reform law created another headache for Scott and the state legislature, the Palm Beach Post reported Wednesday.
Currently, Florida law doesn't allow the state to provide health benefits to its part-time employees. That's not going to fly under Obamacare, which requires employers to offer health insurance to anyone who works at least 30 hours a week or pay penalties to offset the cost of the federal government subsidizing their coverage.
The state may be forced to make sweeping changes to its health insurance program for state workers if it wants to avoid paying substantial penalties required under the law pushed by President Barack Obama.
Officials who run the health insurance program told legislators on Wednesday that Florida could be on the hook for a $300 million a year penalty unless it suddenly agrees to start covering part-time employees who work at least 30 hours a week.
The taxpayer-funded health benefits program for state workers, dependents and retirees costs $1.9 billion a year, according to the Palm Beach Post. Adding in about 2,200 state employers and 4,700 university workers who log at least 30 hours a week would cost Florida an additional $23.5 million in 2014 and almost $49 million the following year, the newspaper reported. Oh, and the program already faces deficits in future years.
Read the whole story at the Palm Beach Post.