Obamacare

Florida's insurance commissioner says the state will follow President Barack Obama's new transitional plan to keep health insurance coverage for Floridians.

Commissioner Kevin McCarty said in a prepared statement Thursday that most health insurers in Florida have already voluntarily extended coverage for affected policyholders through 2014. But for any companies that didn't, his office pledges to work with any company that chooses to continue coverage in accordance with the Obama's transitional policy.

State Rep. Mark Pafford, the incoming leader of Florida House Democrats, says he will continue to press the issue of Medicaid expansion during the upcoming legislative session, the Florida Current reports. Republicans in the Florida House blocked  Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act during the 2013 session.

Remember the New England Compounding Center, which sent out contaminated  pain injections that killed 64 people, including some in Florida? More than a year after that debacle, a bill  that nearly everyone in Congress supports is being held up by an opponent of the Affordable Care Act.

AP

President Obama, who is coming to Miami late today for fundraising, publicly apologized Thursday for over-promising on the Affordable Care Act in the past. He had assured Americans they wouldn’t lose their health insurance policies -- true for most people, but it turned out to be wrong for 5 to 8 percent of the population, those who buy plans in the individual market.

At his site Our Health Policy Matters, health consultant Paul Gionfriddo writes that he’s as sick of the Obamacare drama as anyone. So, this week, he said he’d opine about something not so contentious: the nation’s failed “War on Drugs.” 

Lynn Hatter/WFSU / WFSU

Thirty or so attendees at St. Mary Primitive Baptist Church in Tallahassee, Fla., gathered on a recent evening to hear a presentation by the Obamacare Enrollment Team on their options to get insurance under the Affordable Care Act. 

"If anybody is interested in getting enrolled, we can get you enrolled tonight," they were told.

Signs outside the church looked official: A familiar, large "O" with a blue outline, white center and three red stripes.

As if the rollout of the federal health law didn't have enough problems, abortion is back in the spotlight.

How the various health plans in the exchanges would or would not pay for abortion was one of the very last issues settled before the bill was passed in 2010. Now abortion's invisibility on the federal HealthCare.gov website has some people pretty upset.

A majority of physicians who responded to a Florida Medical Association survey this month said they support expanding the Medicaid program to cover more indigent and working-poor adults, FMA reported Tuesday

But that's not the group's number-one goal for the coming legislative session, so it's unclear whether FMA will lobby for it.

Florida Blue’s cancellation of 300,000 individual health-insurance policies in the state has led many to accuse President Obama of deliberately misleading the public when he said that if people liked their insurance policies, they could keep them, the Fiscal Times reports.

Monday was yet another troubled day for the Affordable Care Act.

Sunday night, the outside vendor that operates two key parts of the website that lets people browse and sign up for health insurance experienced a failure.

The failure took place at a vendor called Verizon Terremark and presumably affected other clients as well as HealthCare.gov, the federal website that people use to sign up for insurance under the Affordable Care Act.

U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio made the media talk shows on Sunday, discussing Obamacare and the recent government shutdown, the Tampa Bay Times reports.  Rubio stated on The O’Reilly Factor that Obamacare had caused 300,000 Floridians to lose their health insurance and owe the IRS money.  He also stated on Fox News Sunday that he didn't support the government shutdown.

Spanish Language Marketplace Site Up, But Not Running

Oct 25, 2013
CuidadoDeSalud.gov

Some Florida Latinos are waiting on the Affordable Care Act’s Spanish language website to become available so they can sign up for coverage. 

The Spanish-language version of HealthCare.gov, CuidadoDeSalud.gov, was supposed to be up and running this past Monday, but instead, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is directing users to its Spanish call center.

Altamonte Springs resident Miriam Lopez said she heard it’s better to apply online, so she’s been reluctant to enroll by phone.

Federal health officials have clarified the deadline people must meet under the individual mandate to buy health insurance under the Affordable Care Act, the Washington Post reports. Open enrollment on the new health insurance Marketplace runs through March 31, and so long as people buy a health plan by then, they won’t face a tax penalty for not having health insurance. It often takes a little time for coverage to kick in once someone enrolls in a plan. 

Florida’s U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson is calling for someone’s head amidst the finger-pointing in Washington over the failure of the online health insurance marketplace that was supposed to launch the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare.

Weeks after its startup, many people report they still can't access the HealthCare.gov website to checkout their eligibility and insurance choices.

Federal contractors now say they’ve identified most of the main problems crippling Healthcare.gov, the main site of the online health insurance marketplace set up under Obamacare.

The serious flaws on the site have made it difficult, if not impossible, for many to sign up for health insurance, dogging the White House as Republicans still opposed to the law say “I told you so.”

About 1,000 people who work for Darden Restaurants, which operates restaurants including Red Lobster and Olive Garden, are losing access to company health insurance in 2014, the Orlando Sentinel reports. The Orlando-based chain says those employees didn’t work enough hours -- 30 or more a week -- to be eligible for health insurance, but the chain had allowed them to stay on their health insurance plan anyway.

Confusion Still Major Hurdle for New Health Law

Oct 21, 2013

MIAMI — As federal health officials work around the clock to fix technology glitches plaguing the website where U.S. citizens can obtain health insurance under the new federal law, many Floridians still have little understanding of how the law works.

Trained counselors are spending the bulk of their time educating people about what the Affordable Care Act is, not signing them up for insurance.

Sources: 476,000 Obamacare Applications Filed So Far

Oct 21, 2013

WASHINGTON — Administration officials say about 476,000 health insurance applications have been filed through federal and state exchanges, the most detailed measure yet of the problem-plagued rollout of President Barack Obama’s signature legislation.

However, the officials continue to refuse to say how many people have actually enrolled in the insurance markets. Without enrollment figures, it’s unclear whether the program is on track to reach the 7 million people projecting by the Congressional Budget Office to gain coverage during the six-month sign-up period.

As the Miami Herald and Kaiser Health News report, uninsured Floridians have different views on the Affordable Care Act but share a common concern: cost of coverage. One 28-year-old real estate agent, who says he doesn’t see the need for health insurance, says he’ll need to check in with his accountant to see if paying a penalty for not buying insurance makes financial sense.

Lottie Watts / WUSF

Florida's online health insurance Marketplace has been open for business since Oct. 1. But more than a week later, people are still having trouble with HealthCare.gov, the website consumers use to shop for health plans. 

Maggie Banta of St. Petersburg is one of millions of visitors to the site since it opened for business a little more than a week ago. She’s been trying to log on for days, but like many others, she can’t.

Floridians continue to ask questions about the Affordable Care Act's major provisions, which are unfolding between now and the end of March. Even though most people aren't affected by this rollout because they're already insured or have Medicare, the questions can be fun to read.

Sebelius to Visit Tampa Amid Obamacare Web Delays

Oct 8, 2013

The Obama administration promised "significant improvements" in accessing the federal health overhaul website this week, after taking down the system for maintenance over the weekend. But many in Florida were still unable to enroll at the start of week two. 

Floridians have enrolled in health insurance plans offered by Cigna using the new online insurance Marketplace, the Washington Post reports.

It’s been one heck of a week for reporters, what with half the government shutting down and the rest trying to get the federal health-plan exchange up  and running.  WUSF’s Craig Kopp talks with Health News Florida Editor Carol Gentry about this crazy week. 

Craig:  There's a lot to talk about, but before we get into that, let's look at something that shows just how confused the American public has become from health-care politics. A CNBC poll found 46 percent are opposed to "ObamaCare." But just 37 percent are opposed to the "Affordable Care Act."

A larger-than-expected surge in interest as well as complex technology are being blamed for a “sluggish” start of the online Health Insurance Marketplace serving Florida and 35 other states on Tuesday. 

As Kaiser Health News reported Wednesday, the federal exchange at HealthCare.gov drew 4.7 million unique visits during its first 24 hours.

Lottie Watts / WUSF

Starting Oct. 1, millions of uninsured people around the country are going to have a new place to shop for health insurance, but many still don’t know about this provision of the Affordable Care Act. 

Take Maggie Banta, a St. Petersburg woman who works a part-time job that doesn’t offer insurance. She is likely to find affordable coverage on the Marketplace, but she said she didn’t even know that was an option.

PolitiFact.com

The Pulitzer Prize-winning fact-checking team at PolitiFact has compiled a list of the most common outrageous falsehoods about the Affordable Care Act and printed it online in a format that links to an in-depth explanation for each one.

At a stop in Tampa to discuss women’s issues, U.S. House of Representatives  Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi criticized how Florida's leaders have handled the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, the Tampa Bay Times reports. At the appearance with U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor, D-Tampa, Pelosi noted Obamacare is moving forward and criticized Gov.

Even though the Affordable Care Act was signed into law three years ago, confusion over what it does and doesn’t do has reached a fever pitch, with both deliberate and accidental misunderstandings careening around the Internet.   Fact-checking organizations are trying to keep up.

With the Oct. 1 Obamacare enrollment date right around the corner, Republicans in Congress are threatening a government shutdown.  South Florida Sun-Sentinel columnist Michael Mayo argues that Republicans in both Congress and Tallahassee should give the Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare, a chance to prove itself before dismantling it.

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