Progress Florida and Florida CHAIN have launched “Health Care for Florida Now” to educate Floridians about new health coverage opportunities and to engage public support to protect, implement, and support the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The newly unveiled website is at www.healthcareforflorida.org and acts as a clearinghouse for information on ACA implementation and Medicaid expansion in Florida.
One of the key elements of the ACA is the extension of the Medicaid program, which will address Florida’s high rate of uninsured residents. Over a million people will become eligible for coverage – many of whom have jobs but still cannot afford health insurance. Accepting the funds will also help to spur Florida’s still stagnant economy. Failure to expand Medicaid will make it much more expensive for the uninsured to obtain coverage and will have a negative impact on local hospitals and nursing homes, which are essential to maintaining strong local economies.
“If Florida rejects the federal Medicaid dollars that have already been put aside for this purpose, hard-working families that can’t afford insurance will continue to crowd emergency rooms, straining local economies,” said Laura Goodhue, executive director of Florida CHAIN. “Meanwhile, our federal tax dollars will go to other states, pushing Florida health programs to do more with less. Gov. Scott should seize this vital opportunity and we remain hopeful he will do the right thing,” added Goodhue.
Another key feature of the ACA is the creation of a health insurance marketplace in 2014 that will allow millions of Florida families to have affordable health care coverage. By providing a competitive health care marketplace, consumers will have more control, higher quality choices and better protections when buying insurance. It brings real competition and greater transparency to the insurance industry. The marketplace will help low and middle-income Floridians qualify for ACA tax credits that will ensure that good coverage is also affordable coverage.