This week, there were significant advancements for two of our top priorities. On Thursday, the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals scheduled the health care lawsuit oral argument for June 8. This expedited schedule is exactly what we want, as it paves the way for the challenge of the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act to be heard before the U.S. Supreme Court by fall. While the motion for en banc, or full court, hearing was denied, scheduling the oral argument so quickly will ensure that the case continues to move forward expeditiously.
Additionally, thanks to the leadership of Governor Scott, we have strengthened the fight against pill mills. Governor Scott launched the Statewide Drug Strike Force, which is comprised of law enforcement and government agencies and is bolstered by $800,000 of funding. The Florida Department of Law Enforcement will coordinate these statewide efforts. I fully support this strike force, which will augment efforts already underway to protect Floridians.
Florida is notorious for its pill mills and is the epicenter of this national public safety crisis. The crisis is so severe that the path from Florida to other states has been referred to as the "OxyExpress" due to the ease with which out-of-state prescription drug abusers and dealers obtain drugs at Florida pill mills and take them back home for use and sale. Just today, Kentucky Attorney General Jack Conway shared his views on the prescription drug abuse epidemic and the prescription drug monitoring program. You can read his letter in the South Florida Sun Sentinel below. I am grateful that we now have a statewide strike force in place to tackle this issue on all fronts.