Keep New Times Free

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

I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of South Florida and help keep the future of New Times free.

Keep New Times Broward-Palm Beach Free... Since we started New Times Broward-Palm Beach, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of South Florida, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering South Florida with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.


Join the New Times community and help support independent local journalism in South Florida.


Join the New Times community and help support independent local journalism in South Florida.