May 5, 2017

Central Floridians wonder, worry about 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.

In “Central Floridians wonder, worry about health care,” an article featured in the Orlando Sentinel, Naseem Miller writes:

“A day after the U.S. House approved a Republican health-care reform bill, Central Floridians were left wondering how it would affect them.

‘I’m thrilled that they’re trying to do something. I’m just not sure what it means,’ Deborah Graham, a practice manager for Orlando Urology Associates, said Friday. ‘I don’t have faith that they’ve actually talked to doctors, other providers and practice managers. … we’re the engine, the doctors and the medical staff.’

The legislation, which was passed on a tight 217-213 vote, still has to get through the U.S. Senate.

President Trump has said the Affordable Health Care Act will lower premiums and deductibles, but opponents of the bill worry that many will lose their insurance and coverage would get more expensive for low-income individuals.

‘The AHCA would shift $7 billion in Medicaid costs to Florida over the coming decade,’ said Joseph Pennisi, executive director of Lake Mary-based Florida Policy Institute, in a news release. ‘Further, since this bill allows states to waive protections for pre-existing conditions, Floridians with cancer, diabetes and asthma could be denied life-saving health care coverage.’

Florida has a lot at stake; more than 1.7 million people in the state have signed up for a plan in 2017, once again leading the nation in the number of people who picked a plan in the federal health insurance marketplace.

More than 130,000 people in Orange County enrolled in a plan this year, up from 121,000 in 2016 and 109,000 in 2015. The number of enrollees also increased between 2015 and 2017 in Lake and Osceola counties. The only county that saw a drop was Seminole, where enrollment dipped from 37,000 in 2016 to 36,500 in 2017.”

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