“My biggest concern is about privacy. They’re getting a lot of our citizens’ information and haven’t told us how they’re going to use it, how they’re going to share it,” Scott told reporters last week.
Scott mentioned a data breach that happened in Minnesota and said, “We know identity theft is a big problem.”
But the federal government routinely manages health data through Medicare and Medicaid, Sebelius said, pointing out the Minnesota case was a failure at the state and not the federal level.
Also, had Florida participated more in setting up Obamacare exchanges, it could more tightly regulate outreach coordinators than it does now.
So far, conservatives have won the public-relations battle race overall.
About $500 million in Obamacare-related advertising has been spent since 2009, with opponents outspending supporters by a 5:1 ratio, according to Kantar Media’s Campaign Media Analysis Group, which projects ad spending to double to $1 billion overall by the end of the 2014 elections.
Obamacare hasn’t been polled in Florida for months, but generally state surveys mirror national polls, which show significant opposition.
A Pew Research Center national poll last week showed 53 percent disapproved and 42 percent approved, “among the most negative assessments of the law,” which 47 percent disapproved of and 43 percent approved of in July last year.
The poll showed few have “a solid understanding” of the law, 63 have “yet to see much of an impact,” but a plurality thinks it has and will have negative consequences.
But the poll shows a racial, ethnic and age divide in which African-Americans back the law by 91 percent, Hispanics by 61 percent and non-Hispanic whites by only 33 percent.
As the Hispanic vote grows in nationwide and in Florida, its political support is key to the political parties.
In Florida, where Hispanics are about 23 percent of the overall population and about 14 percent of the voter rolls, they account for about 35 percent of the state’s Medicaid-eligible population.
A March poll from the Associated Industries of Florida, a conservative business lobby, showed Hispanics favored expanding Medicaid under Obamacare 60-28 percent, while Florida voters overall supported it by a lesser amount, 54-31 percent.
The Obama campaign spent between one-quarter and one-third of its Spanish-language ad money in the nation and Florida on touting Obamacare, and it helped the president best Republican Mitt Romney by significant margins.
“Healthcare was one of our top persuasion messages in the Hispanic community,” said Ashley Walker, Obama’s Florida campaign manager.
But with two Hispanic Republicans leading the charge against Obamacare, Rubio and Cruz, long-term Latino support is no guarantee
Also, minorities are generally less reliable voters than older whites, who form the base of the Republican Party, in mid-term elections. What’s more, Hispanics are still largely uninformed about the law, making outreach and campaigning more crucial than ever for both sides.
Ultimately, Obamacare will either fail or succeed on its own merits. But until then, polling and demographic data show that Florida is the ultimate proving ground for the law’s effects in an election.
In the meantime, Democrats intend to conflate Republican opposition to Obamacare with GOP resistance over immigration reform, a potent one-two-punch — unless Hispanic voters pull a repeat of 2010 and stay away from the polls.
“Five years from now, the Republican position could be right and Obamacare could be a disaster,” said Matt Barreto, pollster with the nonpartisan Latino Decisions polling firm. “In the short term, it makes sense for the Democrats to keep doing what they’re doing.”
So get ready for more campaigning, more ads and more legislative fights from Washington to Tallahassee.