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Andrew Gillum Proposes Strengthening Health Insurance Protections

Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum said he’ll pass legislation to strengthen health insurance provisions if he’s elected governor. Gillum says his proposed legislation was prompted by the U.S. House vote repealing the Affordable Care Act last week.

Tallahassee resident Avril Wood-McGrath said her sister Margaret suffers with Crohn’s disease, which inflames the digestive tract. Speaking at Gillum's news conference, she said she was heartbroken after the U.S. House voted to repeal the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare.

“The Affordable Care Act has benefited my family in a myriad of ways, not only because of my sister has an incurable disease, but also because I have cancer survivors in my family," she said. "And the idea of the people that I love and that I care about being priced out of having medical coverage is terrifying and it’s terrifying to a lot of people.”

Gillum is running for governor to replace Governor Rick Scott, who is term limited in 2018. Gillum said he would push to bar insurers from denying coverage for people with pre-existing conditions, charging people with pre-existing conditions more and charging women more than men.

“We unfortunately have a governor that didn’t allow the full benefits of ACA to be felt in this state. And what we would work toward is a strengthening of ACA so it serves more people and does it is in the most efficient and effective way possible,” he said.

Gillum said he believes health care is a right, but says it’s too costly to change the state’s Constitution. He also didn’t detail precisely how the state would pay for expanding coverage.

Former Congresswoman Gwen Graham and businessman Chris King are also running for the Democratic nomination.

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Sarah Mueller is the first recipient of the WFSU Media Capitol Reporting Fellowship. She’ll be covering the 2017 Florida legislative session and recently earned her master’s degree in Public Affairs Reporting at the University of Illinois Springfield. Sarah was part of the Illinois Statehouse press corps as an intern for NPR Illinois in 2016. When not working, she enjoys playing her yellow lab, watching documentaries and reading memoirs.