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Florida League of Women Voters ‘fact checks’ the healthcare debate

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The impasse in Florida’s healthcare coverage rages on, and on Thursday morning, the League of Women Voters hosted a “fact checking” conference call designed to clear up the “drama, diversion, and misconception of facts” regarding the healthcare debate. The call featured national healthcare policy expert Joan Alker of the Georgetown University Health Policy Institute.

Alker contended that “important pieces of the puzzle” related to the healthcare debate were “misunderstood,” which get in the way of achieving healthcare outcomes that are in the public interest. She contended that if the Supreme Court rules in favor of the plaintiff in King V. Burwell, a decision expected in late June after the projected end of the Special Session in Tallahassee, there would be a commensurate loss of coverage for a lot of Floridians.

Florida, Alker mentioned, has “1.3 million people in the Exchange,” the “largest number in the country.” The worst-case scenario could leave almost 2 million Floridians without health insurance.

She also brought up the issue of people in the Medically Needy program, who she described as “very sick people,” many of whom have “bankrupted themselves.”

Alker contended that “considerable savings” could be achieved if Medicaid money is accepted in conjunction with the federal exchange.

“Eight states have expanded Medicaid,” Alker continued, and those states will see $1.8B in budget savings by the end of 2015, with “sharp reductions” in the rates of the uninsured.

The Senate plan would stem this crisis, directly solving the “Burwell problem” for people in the 100 percent-138 percent income range.

“It’s ironic that the speaker and the governor have expressed concern over people losing marketplace coverage” who would be covered if the Senate plan prevailed.

“The state could buy them coverage through the Exchange,” Alker said, and “if the state did extend Medicaid, the path to coverage would be extended.”

Kids, she added, “have a lot at stake.”

Twenty-eight percent of the population affected are parents or will be parents soon. Coverage would impart financial security, improved health for parents, and, obviously, would provide insurance for children directly.

A.G. Gancarski has written a weekly column for Jacksonville’s Folio Weekly since 2003. His writings on politics, culture, and sport have appeared in the Washington Times, the Daily Caller, and the American Conservative. His radio and TV appearances include frequent contributions to WJCT-FM (Jacksonville’s Public Radio station); additionally, he has been a guest on Huff Post Live and the Savage Nation radio show. Gancarski can be reached at a.g.gancarski@gmail.com.

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