Florida CHAIN

For 18 years, Florida’s voice for expanding health-care coverage has been a group known as Florida CHAIN.

But now two of CHAIN’s former employees are launching their own non-profit, called Florida Consumer Health Alliance. That has set up a power struggle among former colleagues.

Florida House of Representatives

Florida’s most vocal advocacy group on health issues will lay off all five of its employees next month as an indirect result of the Republican sweep in the Nov. 8 election.

Daylina Miller/Health News Florida

Consumer advocacy group Florida CHAIN released a new report Wednesday that once again calls for the expansion of Medicaid in the state.

The push comes despite the fact that Florida House lawmakers have shut down expansion of the health care for the poor each year since 2010.

Children's Health Program To Resume Enrollment Next Month

Dec 9, 2015
Wikimedia Commons

Under fire in the media and the state Senate, the Florida Department of Health on Tuesday took another step toward accepting children into a program that serves kids with "chronic and serious" medical conditions.

The Florida Department of Health is floating a “compromise” on how it determines eligibility for the Children’s Medical Services Program. CMS is designed for low-income kids with chronic and serious medical conditions.

American Community Survey (ACS) data from 2014 .

More than 67,000 Florida children gained health insurance coverage last year with the full implementation of the Affordable Care Act, according to a report released Wednesday by Georgetown University’s Health Policy Institute.

Pafford To Lead Health-Advocacy Group

Oct 16, 2015
Florida House of Representatives

House Minority Leader Mark Pafford, D-West Palm Beach, was named Thursday as chief executive officer of Florida CHAIN, a health-care advocacy group that has sought to sway the Florida Legislature on issues such as Medicaid expansion.

Tallahassee Forum To Address 'Balance Billing

Oct 15, 2015

State Insurance Consumer Advocate Sha'Ron James will bring together key groups to discuss a controversial issue in the health-care industry known as "balance billing."

A state report on the price of plans under the Affordable Care Act has been politically distorted to make things look worse than they are, a health advocacy group says.

The report by the Office of Insurance Regulation is to be presented to a House committee today  at 2:30 p.m. The meeting is scheduled to be streamed live on The Florida Channel.

Some low-income Floridians who can't get Medicaid coverage now will qualify for it after Jan. 1, under new Medicaid eligibility guidelines that apply nationwide.

Savings accounts, a car and child support will no longer count against eligibility, which should make it easier for low-income parents to qualify, according to an account in the Orlando Sentinel.

Health policy and political consultants say that for the Affordable Care Act to succeed, politically and substantively, organizing efforts must focus on three states with large numbers of uninsured: Florida, Texas and California. Unfortunately for Democrats and the law’s supporters, as Politico reports, two of those states are run by Republicans who are trying to hamper the enrollment effort.

Since the Affordable Care Act was signed, most state governments have made the most of the federal grants flowing from Washington for health-system reform. Not Florida.

State agencies in Tallahassee have either not competed for grants or, on occasion, have won them but then given the money back.  The latest: a $2.3 million grant for a toll-free consumer health information line. A Florida agency won it, records show, then decided not to take the money.

woman holds child
U.S. Navy

(UPDATED) In a long-awaited move, federal health officials on Friday granted Florida's request to expand its five-county pilot Medicaid managed-care project statewide.  Mindful of how some Florida Medicaid HMOs have behaved in the past, the deal includes what an independent analyst called "unprecedented consumer protections."

Ten Florida health insurers have filed documents indicating they want to compete for shoppers on the Affordable Care Act marketplace when it opens Oct. 1, state records indicate.  However, it is not clear whether all of them will follow through or receive federal approval.

The list has not been released by the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation (OIR) nor the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Florida would gain more than 70,000 jobs and almost $9 billion in added economic activity by the third year if the state decides to expand Medicaid, according to a new study released Wednesday.

Families USA, a consumer group that supported passage of the ACA,  forecast that economic ripple effect would result from the addition of almost $5 billion in federal payments to health-care providers in the state in 2016.

After two days of heavy criticism, Gov. Rick Scott’s administration released  a new, much smaller estimate of the cost of expanding Florida Medicaid late Wednesday night. The new report pegs the price tag at about $3 billion.

At the most, if all those eligible signed up, it would cost the state $5 billion over a decade, the new report says. That is less than one-fifth the cost that Scott has been citing.

A new law has added more synthetic drugs to the state’s controlled substances list, the Associated Press reports.  It’s now a third-degree felony to make or sell these drugs that are more commonly known by their street names: K2, spice and bath salts.