Healthcare


HHS Secretary Visits Florida 3 Times in The Same Week Promoting Health Insurance Marketplaces

by Patrick Riley 18 Sep 2013
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Florida has some 3.8 million reported uninsured, ground zero for implementation of the ACA's health insurance marketplaces in just a few days. Florida is critical to the success of HIX strategy as the political infrastructure of the state, led by Gov. Rick Scott and the Republican led legislature, has, from the very start opposed installment of the health insurance marketplace. Now, with the federal government left to do the job, HHS Secretary is leaving no stone unturned as she campaigns heavily in the Sunshine State for a successful 1 October launch.

Hispanic participation in Florida is crucial to Sebelius as well. Florida reports some 580,000 uninsured who are eligible. She has criss-crossed the state seeking assistance from retail partners to help get the word out: CVS, Walgreens and RiteAid pharmacies all offering advice and brochures in Spanish and English. The state Association of Community Health Centers which runs 40 health clinics received $8 million dollars from the federal government to train, certify and field outreach and education workers, or navigators. The Epilepsy Foundation of Florida has also received a grant from the federal government to train even more navigators, specifically in Miami-Dade.

Florida also rejected the federal proposal to expand Medicaid which is creating a secondary headache for Sebelius and her colleague Marilyn Tavenner at CMS. And Governor Scott and the Florida legislature are challenging the security of the federal data-hub, or massive health IT infrastructure that, come Octover 1st will check eligibility and enroll people using the online health insurance marketplaces.

All of this leaves no doubt in the attention Florida enrollment numbers and health IT glitches and hiccups will be in the public eye and highly reported and scrutinized in just two short weeks. The conventional wisdom that prevails with either bolster nationwide enrollment or serve to take a leg out from under Sebelius and the President as they look to implement the ACA.

You can follow me on Twitter as I continue to write on the changing face of healthcare reform in America @Patrick_FrostHC or continue to review my daily blogs on frost.com.

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