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Thousands of Floridians Left Uncovered by Obamacare

Ours can be a callous and unforgiving state.

When health-care reform was initially passed, there were two major things it was to accomplish. First, it meant the federal government would provide to low- and middle-income earners subsidies on a new health exchange -- which would mimic the free market on healthcare.gov -- to help everyone afford insurance.

Next, and most important, the government would expand Medicaid so that even the poorest would gain coverage. In total, 30 million uninsured Americans would have become eligible for some kind of help.

This, however, wasn't going to be how Florida would do things. Gov. Rick Scott has rejected this expansion of Medicaid, along with 25 other states, so now, even though Obamacare has gone through over Republican bloviations, thousands of people in Florida won't be helped.

The demographics most affected, according to a probing article in today's New York Times, include uninsured blacks and single mothers. Among those who will be excluded by the rejection of Medicaid expansion are 435,000 cashiers, 341,000 cooks, and 253,000 nurses' aides, reports the Times.

In all, more than 8 million of the poorest and most in-need people in the United States -- hundreds of thousands of whom live right here in Florida -- will be without health insurance.

There's a cruel irony in all of this.

But it's even worse than that in Florida.

The health-care reform act would have allowed local agencies to employ "navigators" -- assistants who can help the ill, disabled, or seniors navigate with what can be a byzantine selection of insurance options -- but Florida has banned them from county health clinics.

This means that those few who are still able to get insurance through Obamacare will have an even harder time than they would have otherwise.

All of this focuses an even harsher light on the government shutdown. Let's look at it for what it really is. A minority group of extremist conservatives has leveraged a once-routine budget procedure to force Democrats and President Obama to abandon a landmark piece of legislation that was lawfully passed and upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court.

Worse, the group has done this even though its cohorts in state governments across the land have already successfully sabotaged the bill to the point that its original goal is now unattainable.

Just in case you're wondering, here are the Twitter handles of the 17 Floridians who voted to shut down the government.

Follow Terrence McCoy on Twitter



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