Obamacare

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.

Florida Department of Health

Floridians who use county health departments for primary care are mostly too poor to qualify for enrollment in a health plan through the online Marketplace to open Oct. 1, the Department of Health says.

So it makes more sense for “navigators” -- enrollment advisors for the uninsured who seek health coverage on the online Marketplace beginning Oct. 1 --  to go to other locations such as hospital emergency rooms, or county libraries, the memo says.

Small Firms Face Big Confusion

Sep 20, 2013
Jay Conner / Tampa Tribune

New federal health insurance rules are inching closer to a January 1st deadline. The requirement that most Americans obtain coverage is feeling very real for the uninsured or those who buy their own policy.

The Tampa Tribune’s Mary Shedden talked to some Tampa Bay residents deciding whether the Affordable Care Act will help their health, or hurt their bottom line. 

Bob Linde’s watched the Obamacare debate carefully the past five years. 

There were so many important health stories this week -- mostly about policy and politics -- that we want to make sure you didn’t miss any. The newest development this morning is a vote by the Republican-controlled House to fund the government but eliminate funding for the Affordable Care Act. Here’s a roundup of the best stories from the week: 

State non-career employees who work at least 30 hours per week can enroll in health coverage through the state health-insurance plan when open enrollment starts in October, the Florida Current reports. The Florida Legislature passed a bill last session to extend the coverage to these workers, known as "other professional services" or OPS employees, to avoid a $321 million penalty under the Affordable Care Act.

Two Florida lawmakers were in Washington, D.C. Wednesday morning to share their perspective on the implementation of the Affordable Care Act.  

Florida officials are callous and secretive, willing to keep information from citizens that could save their lives, according to the Obama administration's top health official.  Meanwhile, those same officials accuse the administration of placing the public's safety at risk.

Business Leaders Push for Medicaid Expansion

Sep 17, 2013
Rolla Al-Abbasi / WUSF

Businesses and healthcare industry leaders on Tuesday publicly urged Florida lawmakers to use billions of dollars in federal funds to provide health coverage for about 1 million low-income adults in the state. 

Convincing state lawmakers to reconsider Medicaid expansion is a top priority for the Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce, said its president and CEO Bob Rohrlack at a news conference organized by the League of Women Voters of Florida. Rohrlack said the federal money would have a huge impact on the economy. 

U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius was in Jacksonville today for a meeting at the Sulzsbacher Center about the Affordable Care Act.

Sebelius sat down with Jacksonville Mayor Alvin Brown, Congresswoman Corinne Brown and some two-dozen leaders of Jacksonville’s non-profit community to address their concerns.

(Updated) Saying "Florida has done some pretty unbelievable things," top federal health official Kathleen Sebelius told Jacksonville leaders on Monday she hopes they will get the word out that help for the uninsured is on the way.

Tampa Tribune

Bob Linde, who runs a business in St. Petersburg, has been unable to get health insurance for a decade because of Gulf War Syndrome symptoms that dot his medical records. When it was available, it was unaffordable.

But he worries that a serious illness or injury could wipe him out. Come Jan. 1, that worry will go away for Linde and others who have been unable to obtain affordable and decent health coverage.

People who lose their jobs and the health insurance tied to them will have new coverage options when the Affordable Care Act's marketplaces open in October.

But consumer advocates are concerned many of these unemployed people may not realize this and lock themselves into pricier coverage than they need.

One company that was going to help enroll uninsured Floridians in health insurance through the federal online Marketplace has dropped out in the face of state officials’ continuing hostility to everything about the Affordable Care Act.

As Chan Lowe with the South Florida Sun-Sentinel writes, it’s just a matter of time before the fight against the Affordable Care Act will die. As Lowe writes, it happened with Social Security and Medicare, once folks started to benefit from those programs. Lowe predicts that same thing will happen with the federal health law better known as Obamacare.

Chris Urso, Tampa Tribune

Anita Balch is a nurse, so everyone asks her about the Marketplace and other key features of the Affordable Care Act that are coming on line between now and Jan. 1. But she’s just as confused as everyone else, she says, because of the five-year political fight that Republicans have waged against Obamacare.

With the launch of new health insurance exchanges just about two weeks away, many of the questions in this month's mailbag focused less on the big picture and more on exactly how the law will operate for individuals.

We can't answer every question we get. But here is a sampling of questions that were really popular, or that would apply to a lot of people.

Florida's uninsured citizens, who are relying on the federal government to create and manage an online health-insurance shopping site called the "Marketplace," can relax a little, after months of hearing that the project won't be ready in time for the grand opening Oct. 1.

Florida’s uninsured citizens -- at least the ones who have heard about the health-insurance “Marketplace” scheduled to open Oct. 1 -- aren’t the only ones eager to see how it works. The same is true of insurers in the individual market who have to participate, despite their worries, for fear they will lose market share if they don’t.

Wikipedia.com

Michigan, which like Florida has a Republican governor and legislative majority, has voted to accept federal funds and expand its Medicaid program to the low-income uninsured. It is yet another GOP-dominated state that has done what Florida did not.

More than 1 million low-income uninsured in Florida are spared from paying any penalty for not having health coverage under the Affordable Care Act as of Jan. 1, according to the rules issued this week by the Obama administration.

Florida is facing a challenge: With the start of the health-insurance enrollment period less than five weeks away, paid “navigators” and volunteers are still unsure how they will find and sign up millions who qualify for and need coverage. State officials have not helped, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel reports. 

Some of the large employers in Florida’s tourism and retail industries could get away with providing very cheap coverage -- so “skinny” it doesn’t even cover a hospital stay -- under one interpretation of the administration’s rules on the Affordable Care Act Rules, Kaiser Health News reports.

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