TALLAHASSEE | A wide-ranging Medicaid bill passed in 2011 was 1,604 lines long. Of those, 11 have turned into a political problem for state Rep. Ronald “Doc” Renuart, R-Ponte Vedra Beach.
The group creating the problem is, in part, funded by the presumed future speaker of the Florida House and a host of powerful organizations that have publicly supported Renuart but state they had no idea the group was going to attack him.
The lines in question were slipped into an amendment filed at the end of the 2011 legislative session — during conference committee between the House and Senate — in the 56-page Medicaid bill. They removed a sunset clause that caps at $200 million the amount tobacco companies must pay up front before they appeal a civil ruling, which saved huge money for those embroiled in endless lawsuits and appeals. The bill passed the House, 80-38.
Without the provision, the cap was set to end this year. Even with the cap, the companies must still pay the full amount awarded plaintiffs if appeals fail.
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