Over 500,000 Floridians enroll in the Affordable Care Act
By Roger Caldwell
The story and lies that have been perpetrated by our governor and our legislative leaders about the Affordable Care Act borders on criminal behavior and pervasive mental sickness. To tell residents that the ACA is too expensive and does not improve health outcomes is not the truth, and entirely wrong. For the first three years of the ACA, the federal government would pick up the cost of the expansion of Medicaid by 100 percent.
There are 3.9 million uninsured Floridians that can benefit from the ACA and our leaders did everything in their power to help the program fail. Our state led the fight to repeal the law, and banned healthcare navigators from county health departments to help get residents signed up. Nothing that our leaders did made any sense with the ACA, and the billions that we will lose from the federal government if we don’t expand Medicaid are hurting the most vulnerable residents in the state.
“You can’t make an economic case against expansion,” said John Holahan, a fellow at the Urban Institute. If Florida does not expand Medicaid, it will lose $5 billion dollars by 2020 from the federal government, and the state would have only paid 7 percent of the cost for expansion. The 500,000 Floridians that enrolled in the ACA is not an accurate number, because there were 440,000, who had signed up by the end of February. Based on the fact that over 1 million Americans signed up in March, I am estimating that 60,000 Floridians enrolled in March.
The accurate numbers will probably be put together in early May, because the President expanded the deadline. This is a tremendous achievement for the federal government, because in order for our President to hit his projected number, he needed Florida to do well. Florida’s success was due to a strong infrastructure created by the Presidential Election. Many of the groups that worked on the election also helped to enroll Floridians into the ACA.
As parents began applying for their own health coverage, they discovered that their children were eligible for Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). There were more than 51,000 children by the end of February who signed up for CHIP, and many parents had no idea there was a program available for their children. Hiding programs that can benefit the poor in the state is morally wrong, and our Florida legislators are not doing their job.
Our legislative leaders cannot be trusted, because they continue to give Floridians the wrong information. When half of a million residents enroll in the ACA, the new program is fulfilling a critical and desperate need. Residents are ecstatic that they have healthcare, and their stories bring compassionate Floridians to tears. Finally Floridians can afford to get healthcare, and poor folks are not being left out in the cold.
When a state has leaders who are blind and can’t see or understand the benefits of the ACA, they must be replaced. Governor Scott is hurting the state and its residents, and he must be voted out of office.