Floridians led the nation in signing up for health insurance on the federal exchange since its inception on Oct. 1. Almost 18,000 state residents from all backgrounds have enrolled, despite the refusal of far-right Republican leaders to facilitate access to health care for the uninsured, noted in a recent Tampa Bay Times editorial.
Florida is stuck with a tea party governor who won’t talk and a tea party House speaker who won’t listen. Gov. Rick Scott refuses to repeat his earlier support for Medicaid expansion, and House Speaker Will Weatherford refuses to hear the economic and moral arguments for accepting billions of federal dollars to cover the poor.
But thanks to healthcare.gov, residents don’t need the permission of state officials to do what’s best for themselves and their families. And they are doing just that.
Since the site launched at the beginning of October, 281,517 Floridians have taken the first step in applying for coverage and 75,480 are eligible for a subsidy to help pay for it, according to federal health officials… [Navigator Jodi] Ray said Florida applicants don’t fit a particular profile, so far.
“They’re not necessarily the sickly. They’re not necessarily the poor. They’re not necessarily the white or Hispanic. They are a whole range of demographics,” she said.
The numbers show the need among working age people and children. While Florida is first in federal health exchange enrollment, it is fourth in population, with many of its residents seniors who are presumably already covered by Medicare.