Obamacare

Advocates: FL Consumers to Pay for Lawmakers’ Decision

Aug 6, 2014

Republicans were quick to pounce Monday on Florida’s announcement that residents buying health insurance on the individual market for next year will face a 13.2 percent average increase in monthly premiums — one of the steepest rate hikes announced for any state. “Obamacare is a bad law that just seems to be getting worse,” said Florida Gov. Rick Scott, a Republican who is running for re-election.

DrElkinMD.com

  The Florida Medical Association's House of Delegates overwhelmingly adopted a resolution supporting Medicaid expansion to cover uninsured low-income adults at FMA's annual meeting on Sunday, according  to doctors who were there.

(Editor's note: This story has been updated with the statement from FMA.)

Stethoscope on a pile of dollars.
Flickr Creative Commons

Insurers must pay $41.7 million in rebates to Florida individuals and employers this summer, an amount that far exceeds refunds in any other state, according to a federal report released Thursday. 

Companies affiliated with Florida Blue in Jacksonville -- Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Florida and Health Options Inc. -- owe a total of $20 million, nearly half of the total.

US Court of Appeals

An appeals court in Washington, D.C. issued a decision Tuesday that would wipe out an estimated $4.8 billion a year in subsidies to Florida individuals and families who signed up for a health plan on the federal health marketplace this year. That would make health insurance unaffordable to most of the nearly 1 million Floridians who enrolled.

FL Blue Signals Rate Hikes Ahead

Jul 21, 2014
Kaiser Health News

Florida Blue, the state’s dominant health insurer, snagged more than one in three consumers on the health law’s exchange this year, but many could face rate hikes as the carrier struggles with an influx of older and sicker enrollees, said the company’s top executive.

Several factors could drive up rates next year — including a paucity of younger and healthy enrollees and a greater-than-expected surge in people seeking expensive health services, CEO Patrick Geraghty said in an interview.

Wikimedia Commons

A court case challenging the Affordable Care Act's subsidies for plans sold on the federal marketplace could have an outsize effect on Florida, according to a new analysis.

A ruling is expected any day on Halbig v Burwell from a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington, D.C. If the government loses and further legal maneuvers fail, the 34 states that rely on the federal exchange would see a $36-billion loss of subsidies, three Urban Institute researchers project.

Stethoscope on a pile of dollars.
Flickr Creative Commons

Florida ranks last in the country in per-person funding from the Affordable Care Act, a new study shows, and that doesn’t even include the billions of dollars the state is forfeiting by saying no to Medicaid expansion.

The Center for Healthcare Research & Transformation at the University of Michigan performed the analysis of ACA grant totals between the time the law was signed in March 2010 and the end of September 2013.

The number of health insurers willing to compete in the federally run Health Insurance Marketplace for Florida enrollees for 2015 has grown, according to forms filed with a state agency by Friday's deadline. One that stayed out last year, giant UnitedHealthcare, is among them.

The information posted by health insurers on a state website indicating they would not seek a rate increase for 2015 in Florida's individual market was "incorrect" and has been taken down, the Office of Insurance Regulation said late Tuesday afternoon.

Unfortunately, the false information came to light only after Health News Florida published an article on Tuesday with the headline: "No Rate Increase? Can It Be?"

The answer, it turns out, is no.

Update: Late Tuesday, the state Office of Insurance Regulation said information posted about 2015 individual market health insurance rates was incorrect and has been taken off its website. See more.

Something unprecedented may be unfolding in Florida's individual health-insurance market: None of the nine companies that have filed their 2015 rate requests so far wants an increase.

Floridians who feel they have been deluged by negative political ads with an anti-"Obamacare" theme are not mistaken: A new study shows spending on negative Affordable Care Act ads dwarfed positive ones 15 to 1.

An example of one such ad by Americans for Prosperity aired for three weeks in the Panhandle district of Congressman Steve Southerland, R-FL.

Here is the national story from Associated Press:

Gov. Rick Scott, who has been orchestrating anti-"Obamacare" meetings with senior citizens around the state and using them as fodder for campaign commercials, picked the wrong senior center in Boca Raton. As the South Florida Sun Sentinel reports, of 20 older voters he talked to, only one had a complaint, about having a hard time finding an orthopedic surgeon.

Until recently, Mike Smith, 64, of Long Beach, Calif., worked 11 hours a day, Monday through Friday and then half a day on Saturday. He was a district manager for a national auto parts chain.

He dreamed of retiring early, but it wasn't an option for him because he and his wife relied on the health insurance tied to his job.

"At our age, with some pre-existing medical conditions, it would have been very costly to buy insurance on the open market — about $3,000 a month," he says.

With 800,000 uninsured Floridians stuck in the “coverage gap” - too much money to qualify for Medicaid, but not enough for subsidies under the Affordable Care Act - the focus is turning on what can be done to help. 

The Florida Legislature turned down the option of accepting $51 billion in federal funds that would have provided them health coverage last year. With only one week left in this year's session, those in the gap - 20 percent of Florida’s uninsured - will most likely be left hanging.

AP file photo

Republican-turned-Democrat Charlie Crist set himself up today for another round of attacks over the President’s health overhaul from Republican Gov. Rick Scott’s campaign team – repeatedly calling the nation’s new insurance system “great” during a lunch speech.

Crist appeared at the Capital Tiger Bay Club and almost immediately brought up the attack ads being run by the political committee backing Scott’s re-election, which show video of Crist talking about the health care overhaul and saying, “I think it’s been great.”

Three powerful Central Florida companies back legislation to increase the number of hours an employee must work to qualify for employer-provided health care. 

Three Southern Republican governors are writing President Barack Obama to complain about newly announced Medicare Advantage payments.

Florida Gov. Rick Scott, Texas Gov. Rick Perry and Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal signed the April 15 letter that says changes to Medicare Advantage payments will harm "America's seniors." The changes are blamed on the nation's health care overhaul.

The letter contends an announcement from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services that payments will increase "amounts to little more than political theater."

The cost of the Affordable Care Act is about $5 billion a year less than originally projected, mostly because insurance premiums were lower than expected, the Congressional Budget Office said Monday.

The Affordable Care Act’s first open enrollment deadline has passed, and the total exceeded expectations, despite a rocky start.
The bickering between the critics and the administration continues, according to an editorial in the Ocala Star-Banner, but the fact remains that millions of Americans who couldn’t get coverage before now have insurance because of the law.  The success is even more startling, considering how hard opponents in Florida worked to stand in the way of the ACA.  

Florida’s Republican lawmakers remain staunchly opposed to expanding Medicaid — a system they’ve repeatedly said is too expensive and doesn’t improve health outcomes. Yet Florida’s Medicaid rolls are expanding under the Affordable Care Act whether Florida likes it or not.

That’s because people trying to sign up for health insurance under President Obama’s new health law are finding out — to their surprise — that they qualify for Medicaid, the federal health insurance program for the poor.

AP

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius is resigning from the Obama administration after the rocky rollout of President Barack Obama's signature health care law, a White House official said Thursday.

Her resignation comes just one week after the end of the first enrollment period for the Obamacare law. While the opening weeks of the rollout were marred by website woes, the administration rebounded strongly by enrolling more than 7 million people in the new insurance marketplaces.

Gov. Rick Scott is not backing down from a pair of campaign ads that state 300,000 Floridians lost their Florida Blue health insurance because of the Affordable Care Act, the Miami Herald reports. The ads attack Scott’s presumed opponent, Charlie Crist, for his support of the federal health law, and use a claim about the Floridians losing insurance that was rated “Mostly False” by PolitiFact.

Former Republican Charlie Crist, now gunning for his old gubernatorial job as a Democrat, is reaffirming his support for the Affordable Care Act, the Naples Daily News reports. At a campaign stop Monday in Naples, Crist cited a PolitiFact ruling of “mostly false” on Gov.

Right around the 4th anniversary of its passage, the deadline to sign up for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act -- also known as Obamacare -- has come and gone.

While the White House has been celebrating the number of sign-ups -- a number that's in dispute -- critics, including many Republicans, claim the law is fatally flawed.

Carol Gentry / WUSF

Al Lopez Park in Tampa is normally an oasis of serenity on a Monday. But on the last day of open enrollment for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act, the community center was crowded, noisy and stressful. Hundreds of procrastinators came seeking help from navigators.

It was a microcosm of the nation, as 3 million Americans visited the HealthCare.gov website and another 1 million used the call-center line on the last official day to sign up for a 2014 health plan.

In a Florida Matters show first aired Tuesday night on WUSF 89.7 FM, a panel of experts answers reader and listener questions about the Affordable Care Act.

U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson cranked up the hopes of many Democrats last week by hinting that he had a plan that might revive the moribund Medicaid expansion in Florida, which would cover those too poor to qualify for tax credits on Healthcare.gov.

AP

Tampa Bay residents still recovering from the onslaught of anti-Obamacare campaign ads from the recent election may better understand why they feel shell-shocked after reading an article from The New York Times.

Americans for Prosperity, a super-conservative group funded by the billionaire Koch Brothers, decided to  make Congressional District 13 in Florida a testing ground.  

PaigeKreegel.com

Questions are being raised about how Congressional candidate and physician Paige Kreegel knew about attack ads before they ever aired, the Tampa Bay Times reports.

The Associated Press

Politicians and pundits continued to pontificate on Tuesday’s multimillion-dollar District 13 Congressional race, won by Republican David Jolly. The bottom line: Obamacare’s going to remain a political punching bag for the GOP.

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