A key part of Obamacare is set to take effect soon and some conservatives are desperate to halt its implementation.
The newest pushback comes out of Florida.
The state’s Department of Health will not allow outreach workers to help sign up uninsured residents for the Affordable Care Act at county facilities there.
Officials told the Associated Press in a statement that the program “has raised privacy concerns due to the consumer information that will be gathered for use in a federal database.”
The outreach workers, called navigators, will be allowed to hand out Obamacare material, but only when it’s requested.
Federal officials have said the restrictions on passing out healthcare info is an attempt by Republicans to intimidate the uninsured and fight an Obama administration policy they don’t like.
The state healthcare exchanges, which will let individuals and small businesses shop online for health insurance, begin at the start of October and conservatives aren’t pleased.
But opponents have largely been left flailing. Talk on Capitol Hill about defunding the Affordable Care Act has generated little support and a Supreme Court ruling in June of last year upheld the new plan.
So they’ve taken to state-level initiatives.
Why Florida? Well, for one, there’s Republican Gov. Rick Scott.
Scott was a healthcare executive -- he started Conservatives for Patient’s Rights, which, according to his website “advocated for free market principles of choice, competition, accountability and personal responsibility in health care” -- and spearheaded the fight against Obamacare. But that fight was eventually lost at the Supreme Court level and the policy is moving forward.
Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.) lambasted the new restriction and tweeted at Republican Gov. Rick Scott, “Time to end the theatrics and work on implementation, NOT more obstruction.”
Florida has a high number of uninsured residents and the Republican-controlled legislature has opposed Obamacare from the beginning. Now healthcare workers worry the new restrictions will prevent some of those people from gaining coverage.
Not all healthcare centers will face the new restriction.
According to Health News Florida, there is an exception for federally qualified health centers that operate within local health departments. More than 40 such clinics in the state received more than $8 million in federal grants to help uninsured patients enroll in a health plan.