Florida Cares About Healthcare … Not

I have been very remiss about posting for the last several weeks.

Being a Floridian is very depressing.  Florida’s elected and administrative leaders have done everything they can to misinform Floridians about Obamacare, to keep the needy from accessing care, to prevent the uninsured from being able to purchase affordable health insurance, and to force healthcare providers to provide unreimbursed care.

Earlier today, Health News Florida reported on how politics over healthcare reform has become more important than either healthcare or meaningful reform.

  • The New York Times reported on Tuesday that “Gov. Rick Scott and the Republican-dominated [Florida] Legislature have made it more difficult for Floridians to obtain the cheapest insurance rates under the exchange and to get help from specially trained outreach counselors.”
  • The Miami Herald reported also on Tuesday that HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, stated that Florida officials are “keeping information from people” in a political effort to foil the effort to enroll Floridians for health insurance.
  • Florida AG Pam Bondi and CFO Jeff Atwater have also joined in the campaign of misinformation and deceit.

The list of wasted Florida tax dollars and loss of Federal funding in trying to impede Obamacare was reported by Health News Florida earlier this week.  Florida’s list of shame includes the following:

  • Leading the court challenge on the constitutionality of Obamacare in 2010 soon after it was signed into law.   Attorney General Pam Bondi made it one of her high-profile issues, becoming a regular guest on Fox News to attack it.
  • After the Supreme Court ruled the law was constitutional, the Florida Legislature told state agencies not to implement it because lawmakers felt sure the Republican party Presidential candidate, Mitt Romney, would win the election in 2012 and repeal the law.
  • After Romney lost the election, governor and legislature pressured the agencies not to apply for grants related to the law; some agencies had to give back grants they had already been awarded.
  • The Legislature this year voted against Florida having its own electronic marketplace for health-plan shopping, even though the state had already spent five years and several million dollars building an online shopping site, Florida Health Choices, that has yet to be used.
  • After months of hearings and negotiations, the Florida Senate came up with a compromise plan on Medicaid expansion that would accomplish several things — reduce the number of uninsured Floridians by about 1 million by using federal funds,  save millions of state dollars now being spent on the uninsured, and continue privatization of the Medicaid program, already well under way.  But the House said no.
  • The Legislature voted to strip the Insurance Commissioner’s authority to regulate health premiums for two years.
  • Insurance Commissioner Kevin McCarty issued a report that predicted health premiums in Florida’s  individual market would soar 30 to 40 percent, thereby producing scandalous headlines. Later, others would note that the figure failed to make adjustments for the tax credits most of those shopping in that market would qualify for. He also failed to mention that the sector he was describing accounts for only 5 percent of policies.

It’s all really quite pathetic and disgusting.  It’s time to vote the bastards out.

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