In what can only be described as blatant disregard for the health of his constituents, Florida Governor Rick Scott has thrown up yet another obstacle for people seeking to enroll in health insurance plans opened up under the Affordable Care Act (aka “Obamacare”). This time, he’s blocking trained Affordable Care Act experts, also known as “navigators,” from working in health departments.
These are people paid for with federal grants, sent to states to find and help navigate the uninsured through the enrollment process. In other words, free help from the federal level to get uninsured people on insurance programs — and Rick Scott is blocking it for what could only be political reasons.
Let that just sink in for a minute. Rick Scott is so entrenched in the anti-Affordable Care Act movement — and a possible 2016 presidential run — that he will go so far as to make it harder for the residents of his own state to get health insurance by (get this) — “citing privacy concerns.”
“The Florida Department of Health this week told the state’s 60 local health department directors that local public health offices, where the uninsured often go for medical services or for help getting them, cannot have navigators on the premises. Under the Affordable Care Act, navigators are the helper-bees who will help people sort through their health insurance options starting Oct. 1, including how much they can expect in a federal subsidy, if any, and how to enroll online.”
“Critics of navigators raise privacy and information security concerns when people provide their personal information. The issues were raised last month by Scott and Attorney General Pam Bondi. But it’s a red herring to cover an overtly political agenda. The navigator program has in place privacy safeguards and strict data security protocols, and navigators will be fully trained.”
Yes, the same governor who signed an executive order requiring drug tests for all state employees, and requiring those who receive public assistance be drug tested without any probable cause (other than being guilty of being poor) suddenly cares about privacy? It’s not only absurdly hypocritical, but if you’re a person who pays attention, it’s not hard to come to the conclusion that Rick Scott is setting himself up as a potential front runner in the nearly vacant field of GOP nominees in 2016 – and he’s willing to do it at the expense of the citizens of the State of Florida.
Now let’s be fair here, this ban of experts will only be from state-funded health departments, not ones run by individual counties; and you can still walk into places like Solantic (now renamed CareSpot) or CVS and get advice from the Affordable Care Act “navigators.” Basically, if you want to get insurance help, you’ll have to either go to a county clinic or a private “doc in a box” like *cough* Carespot *cough* and get that assistance.
This isn’t the first time Rick Scott has tried to block or slow down the Affordable Care Act and Medicaid expansion, and it certainly won’t be the last as he quietly builds his tea party credentials for 2016. Scott/Ryan 2016? Have the barf bucket ready and don’t be surprised if it happens.
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