Obamacare: Will the U.S. Supreme Court Doom Federal Subsidies For Floridians?
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MIAMI (CBSMiami) -- Mike and Carole Driscoll have what it takes to fight their way through this. The Plantation couple has been married 30 years, and have five kids. They've built a foundation of strength, and they need it more than ever now.
Two years ago, about to turn 50, a bad back injury for Mike Driscoll spiraled into something much worse.
"I was in a tremendous amount of pain and part of during that time while I was in pain, I unfortunately let my heart rate go up to very high levels," explained Driscoll.
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Mike Driscoll had a series of mini strokes which lead to fluid on the brain.
Soon, in between jobs and with a pre-existing condition, the only health insurance he qualified for was through the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare. And the only way he could afford it was with the federal subsidies Obamacare offers to those in financial need. For the Driscoll's that is $841 dollars a month.
"Without the subsidy we would not have been able to afford it," insisted Carole Driscoll. "I would lose my husband without the subsidy without the insurance, without the pre-existing condition. He wouldn't be here."
But the Driscolls are among the one million Floridians who will lose those subsidies, if the U.S. Supreme Court sides with Obamacare's critics. A case on the court's docket would deprive subsidies to people who live in states, like Florida, that don't have state run exchanges. Florida doesn't have one because Gov. Rick Scott and the republican lead state legislature don't like the law and have refused to set one up.
Republican State Sen. Rene Garcia says he's for a state run exchange, to keep those federal subsidies coming.
"This will fall on the shoulders of taxpayers of the state of Florida if those subsidies disappear," Garcia said.
For the Driscolls, Obamacare is the difference between health insurance or no health insurance. And mike, who at 52 thought he was years from retirement, needs expensive brain surgery - soon.
"I want nothing more than to work full-time," Mike Driscoll said as he began to tear up.
"It's okay," Carole Driscoll reassured her husband. "Go back to where we were."
"Excuse me," he told CBS4's Rick Folbaum.
"Don't worry," Folbaum assured him.
Mike Driscoll, through tears, insisted that all he wanted was "to work full-time, and have, you know benefits, and just live, live my life as a normal person."
"And not have to deal with all this other nonsense?" asked Folbaum.
"Not have to bother with it," agreed Driscoll.
"That would be nice," said Folbaum.
"I'll do everything in my power to make that happen," Mike Driscoll declared.
If the Supreme Court rules the subsidies must end, lawmakers in Tallahassee and elsewhere are going to start hearing more stories like the Driscoll's.
The court is set to hear the Obamacare case early next month and should rule on it by the end of June.
So state lawmakers still have time to act, if they choose.
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