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Florida GOP candidates take aim at health care overhaul

Hours after congressional Democrats passed a major health-reform bill, Republicans in Florida's capital opened a broad assault Monday to dismantle the legislation at the ballot box and in the courts.

At issue: the legislation's so-called "individual mandate" that requires most people to buy insurance or face fines.

Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum, a Republican running for governor, started Monday morning with a promise to join nine other Republican attorneys general from other states to sue over the mandate. Later in the day, Republicans in a House committee passed legislation urging him to sue as soon as President Barack Obama signs the bill into law, which could happen Tuesday.

And in yet another committee Monday, House lawmakers passed a proposed state constitutional amendment, which would need voter approval, to stop the government from directly or indirectly compelling anyone in Florida to buy health insurance.

Called the Florida Health Care Freedom Act, the proposal passed the Health Care Regulation Policy Committee on a 10-3 party-line vote. Republican sponsor Scott Plakon of Longwood said the proposed amendment was designed to stop federal overreach.

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