Obamacare debate continues in Florida

Fla. House leaders fight Affordable Care Act


TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Florida was the first state to fight the Affordable Care Act and continues throwing up roadblocks today.

Two Florida lawmakers went to Washington Wednesday to make a valiant argument on the hotly contested Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare.

"I'm here to tell you the State of Florida is punishing people to get access to health care," said Democratic Sen. Eleanor Sobel.

"I'm positive the citizens of Florida want representatives to make decisions instead of a ‘trust me,'" said Republican Rep. Matt Hudson.

This past legislative session Senate Republicans and Democrats worked to allow federal dollars to fund healthcare expansion in the state. More than one million Floridians could be eligible, but state house leaders fought the plan.

"Florida made the right decision in blocking state exchange," Hudson said.

Starting Oct. 1, federal law will allow Floridians without health insurance to shop for coverage. More than two dozen navigators have been deployed across the state to educate the uninsured, and help them register for coverage.

It's being argued the state is making it difficult for navigators to serve the uninsured. The Department of Health sent a letter saying federal navigators are not allowed to conduct activities on the ground of the health departments.

"You want to have assistance available at the places where people who are uninsured go to get their healthcare," Affordable Care Act supporter Karen Woodall said.

Although Florida continues to fight, lawmakers say they will continue pushing for more coverage.

"We must find a way to put aside Florida's differences and move forward with the ACA," said Sobel.

Despite the state ban on using state facilities, several counties are helping navigators because they are obligated to help under federal grants they received.

Click here to learn more about the Affordable Care Act or call 1-800-318-2596.