The Affordable Care Act in Florida hasn’t had an easy time. State lawmakers rejected an expansion of the Medicaid program for low-income people that could have covered another three million Floridians. The state also refused to set up its own online insurance exchange for people to shop and compare plans.
Now the state is denying access to navigators: people who are supposed to go out into communities and help the uninsured sign up for insurance on federal exchanges.
Two Florida lawmakers from opposing sides of the political aisle testified before congress Wednesday, and Hollywood Democrat Eleanor Sobel says Navigators are important part of the program.
“The Florida administration is not, to my knowledge, doing much, if anything, to educate the people about this program. I believe the best way to kill a program, destroy a program, is to not get the information out to the people who actually need that information," Sobel told a Congressional House panel.
Governor Rick Scott recently aired concerns about the release of social security numbers in Minnesota. A federal insurance official accidentally sent the information to a person who had applied to be a navigator. In Florida, those navigators are heavily regulated. But it’s the ammunition in a fight against the affordable care act. State Republican Representative Matt Hudson likened the data breach to a new home purchase. As a realtor, Hudson says he doesn’t let people buy homes without being informed:
“Frankly, that’s one of the single-largest investments in their life, their personhood...doing so is wreckless and inappropriate...the days of caveats are gone...and should be under the Affordable Care Act as well," Hudson says.
He has been a staunch opponent to the healthcare law. Hudson and Sobel were among a panel of officials from different states discussing their policies when it comes to the Affordable Care Act. Some House Republicans continue to push for a repeal of the law, but the chances of that happening are unlikely. The insurance exchanges are set to open at the beginning of October.