TALLAHASSEE, Fla., Sept. 26, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- Mark Lipton, a candidate for Florida State House District 79 and an attorney of 45 years, filed suit in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Florida naming Pam Bondi, Florida's Attorney General, as the Defendant. Lipton seeks an injunction to end Bondi's participation in a Texas lawsuit that attempts to overturn the Affordable Care Act (ACA).
The lawsuit also seeks a declaratory relief finding that Bondi, as Florida Attorney General, is required to protect, not harm, the consumers of Florida. The Plaintiffs, Winnie Byrd and Thomas Byrd, both live in Panama City, Florida. Ms. Byrd receives Medicare. Overturning the ACA would mean an additional $3,000 annual prescription drug costs for her. Thomas, her son, has a pre-existing condition and is on the ACA Exchanges. He'd lose health coverage completely, including Federal government subsidies. As it is, the price of his insurance has nearly doubled in part due to the Texas lawsuit.
Lipton explained, "Bondi seeks to deprive Floridians of valuable property rights, including Federal subsidies. She took an oath of office to defend and support the United States and Florida Constitutions. Due process, as contained in both documents, requires 'notice and hearing' before a state or the Federal government can take away rights, even welfare benefits. Bondi has not provided any notice and hearing to the million plus ACA Exchange Floridians or the millions on Medicare. She believes she is not accountable for her attack on them."
Lipton claims if the ACA is overturned it would deprive over one million Floridians of needed Federal subsidies for insurance and impose a $3,000 prescription drug cost on Medicare beneficiaries. But most of all, Lipton, an employee benefits specialist, points out that insurance companies would be free to deny coverage for individuals with pre-existing conditions, impose annual and lifetime dollar limits on coverage, remove children over 18 from parents' coverage, and charge women more for health insurance then men for the same coverage. Currently these coverage limitations are prevented by the ACA (sometimes called "Obamacare").
When asked why he filed the suit, Lipton said, "The State of Florida has the most people on the Obamacare exchanges. The Texas District Court is currently considering arguments on both sides of the lawsuit. Regardless of who wins, there will likely be lengthy appeals. Floridians shouldn't be paying tax dollars to attack a law that benefits them. The lawsuit is destabilizing insurance markets, increasing rates, and threatening Floridians' subsidies, even if the law is eventually upheld. It is shameful that our Attorney General would join in a lawsuit designed to harm her constituents."
When asked what will happen in November when a new Attorney General is elected, Lipton commented, "If it is Sean Shaw I'm sure he will end Florida's participation in this partisan, politically motivated travesty. If it is Ashley Moody she now knows she has to answer to the people of Florida if she plans on continuing participation in the Texas case."
Lipton explained that the Department of Justice refused to defend the lawsuit, also on a political bias, so 17 states intervened accepting that responsibility. He also commented that there have been many amici curiae briefs filed ("friends of the Court") arguing that the law should not be overturned. They include the American Lung Association, Multiple Sclerosis Association, American Medical Association, American Heart Association and AARP, among others. Also, a group of renowned economists filed a brief in support of the ACA.
Lipton is running as a Democrat in North Fort Myers, Alva, Olga, Buckingham and Lehigh Acres, a swath of Lee County in Southwest Florida. He has over forty years of employee benefit experience, both representing benefit plans and suing them. He says he got into the race for the Florida State House because its members rejected Medicaid Expansion denying 800,000 Floridians health coverage. If elected he said he'd vote to accept the Expansion which comes with billions of dollars of Federal money. There is no incumbent and his opponent, Spencer Roach, has never held office.
SOURCE Mark Lipton for Florida House Seat 79