Gov. Scott sabotaging healthcare law

 

The governor of Florida is making it abundantly clear he will stop at nothing to sabotage the new federal health-care law. And in so doing, he’s putting at risk some of the very residents he was elected to serve.

Earlier this year, the governor decided to sign legislation that eliminated the Florida insurance commissioner’s authority to reject or modify health insurers’ rate hikes. In essence, he deregulated the industry in Florida and turned the big health-insurance companies loose on the consumers he’s supposed to protect.

Then, the governor stood silent as lawmakers in his own political party refused to allow an estimated 1.2 million more low-income Floridians to gain access to Medicaid. And without that coverage, odds are some of the 1.2 million will suffer.

Now, the governor wants to make it nearly impossible for many Floridians to consult with the very folks whose mission is to help them navigate the new health-care system and to purchase affordable coverage under the new law.

More specifically, the governor is trying to bar these “navigators” from working at local health departments across the state.

According to the governor, these “navigators” would jeopardize consumers’ privacy. And the state is signaling schools, volunteer organizations and health groups there may be extra long delays in approving state licenses for the navigators.

State officials have so far failed to mention that these “consumer helpers” have been serving the people of Florida in various ways for years — and, yes, even with the current governor’s full backing.

In fact, many state and federal agencies have such “navigators” involved in helping folks maneuver through the often-complex processes associated with filing benefits claims, for example — and, yes, even buying health insurance.

That’s right, even when buying health insurance created by the state.

From Medicaid to Medicare, from veterans’ organizations to the state’s own KidCare insurance program, navigators are available to make sure Floridians get assistance.

The people of Florida — many of whom will be purchasing healthcare coverage for the first time - are entitled to such assistance without the fear and concern generated by exaggerated claims about loss of privacy.

Floridians have been able to rely on this kind of assistance for decades and yet the governor has not previously questioned whether privacy was an issue.

Why then would he be using his power now to deny this kind of assistance to Floridians — as they try to benefit from the new health-care law?

There is no plausible answer to that question.

As I see it, a public office is a public trust. And an elected official should represent not just some but all of the people — including the middle class, the poor and the disadvantaged.

Democrat Bill Nelson is Florida’s senior U.S. senator.

Read more From Our Inbox stories from the Miami Herald

  • Sen. John Walsh plagiarized my work

    On Wednesday afternoon, a flurry of phone calls and e-mails informed me that Sen. John Walsh, D-Mont., had apparently included — verbatim and without attribution — several pages of a 1998 paper of mine in a work he submitted to the U.S. Army War College. Walsh’s paper, which also failed to properly reference the work of others, was one of the requirements for the master’s degree he received from the War College in 2007.

  • teachers-comment 07-25

    Teachers unions’ destructive behavior

  • Left Coast Rising

    The states, Justice Louis Brandeis famously pointed out, are the laboratories of democracy. And it’s still true. For example, one reason we knew or should have known that Obamacare was workable was the post-2006 success of Romneycare in Massachusetts. More recently, Kansas went all-in on supply-side economics, slashing taxes on the affluent in the belief that this would spark a huge boom; the boom didn’t happen, but the budget deficit exploded, offering an object lesson to those willing to learn from experience.

Miami Herald

Join the
Discussion

The Miami Herald is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere on the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

The Miami Herald uses Facebook's commenting system. You need to log in with a Facebook account in order to comment. If you have questions about commenting with your Facebook account, click here.

Have a news tip? You can send it anonymously. Click here to send us your tip - or - consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Miami Herald and el Nuevo Herald.

Hide Comments

This affects comments on all stories.

Cancel OK

  • Marketplace

Today's Circulars

  • Quick Job Search

Enter Keyword(s) Enter City Select a State Select a Category