July 31, 2017

After repeal's rejection, go bipartisan on health care [Orlando Sentinel]

This post was last updated on September 10, 2021. As new policies are announced, FPI will update this page.

As Florida’s response to COVID-19 takes front and center, concern grows for low-income families who struggle to take precautions against the spread of the virus. Although Congress has passed the Families First Coronavirus Response Act to address, at least in part,  the public health crisis and economic fallout from COVID-19, many barriers continue to keep struggling families from accessing the assistance they need during the pandemic. As Florida initiates policies implementing the Act and addressing other barriers to the safety net, FPI will update this form. When available, hyperlinks are provided to agency documents or statements that provide greater detail  about the new policy.
On March 22, 2020, FPI and 44 other organizations sent a letter to Governor DeSantis, leadership in the Legislature and agency heads to urge action on 47 specific policy changes to reduce unnecessary barriers for Florida’s safety net programs in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. See the letter here.

From the Orlando Sentinel Editorial Board:

“After U.S. Senate Republicans fell one vote short of passing what looked like their last chance to repeal and replace Obamacare, GOP leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky declared it was ‘time to move on’ to other issues. We hope McConnell, rather than abandon health care, will heed the sage advice of one of the three Republicans who helped sink the party’s chances of passing a ‘skinny repeal’ of the Affordable Care Act in the wee hours of Friday morning.

Arizona’s John McCain, who dramatically returned to the Senate this week after being diagnosed with brain cancer, urged his colleagues in a stirring floor speech to work across the aisle to craft a health-care bill in open hearings. ‘What have we to lose by trying to work together to find those solutions?’ he asked. ‘We’re not getting much done apart.’

McCain wasn’t the only one dispensing this wisdom. On Wednesday 10 governors, five Republicans and five Democrats, dispatched a letter to McConnell and Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer of New York, calling on them to work with each other and governors on health care. ‘True, lasting reforms can only be achieved in an open, bipartisan fashion,’ the governors wrote.

Sadly, the group did not include Florida Gov. Rick Scott. He hasn’t stopped pushing for the partisan approach of Republicans trampling any opposition from Democrats to repeal Obamacare. So how’s that working out for your party, governor?

In 2010, President Obama and Democrats in Congress made the mistake of muscling the Affordable Care Act to passage without any GOP votes, which ensured the law would be in trouble as soon as the party lost its majority on Capitol Hill. Republicans would be foolish to fall into the same political trap.

Americans are fortunate that the Senate’s skinny repeal bill failed. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office estimated the ranks of the uninsured would have swelled by 16 million under the bill and insurance premiums would have risen another 20 percent a year between 2018 and 2026.

The stakes for Florida in the battle over health-care policy are huge. More than 1.7 million Floridians signed up for coverage in the health-insurance marketplace created by the Affordable Care Act during the most recent enrollment period. About 90 percent qualified for federal tax credits for their coverage, and 72 percent received subsidies, according to the Florida Policy Institute [emphasis added]. And though Scott spurned the opportunity under the law to expand coverage to 800,000 working poor Floridians, the percentage of uninsured state residents fell from 21.3 percent in 2010, the year the act passed, to 13.3 percent in 2015."


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