Lets conduct a poll. By hand signal. Anyone who discerns even an inkling of sincerity in the governors decision to bar Affordable Health Care navigators from county health department premises, slap yourself in the head.
Dr. Marc Yacht, former Pasco County health director, wouldnt poll in favor of the gov. He called Rick Scotts policy, ostensibly to protect patient confidentiality, cruel and irresponsible, charging that it will significantly compromise a multitude of needy Floridians from getting critical health care.
The Broward County Commission voted 8-1 Tuesday to defy Scott and invited navigators into five county-owned health facilities to answer questions about the Affordable Health Care Act and hook eligible people up with insurance exchanges.
The governors office, displeased by the Broward rebellion, issued an angry statement. In an unprecedented move, the Broward County Commission today rejected the Department of Healths guidance to protect patient privacy and ensure patient confidentiality in County Health Departments.
Not exactly unprecedented. The Pinellas County Commission had already voted to flout the governors order to shun the health insurance advisors. I think its another round in the fight over Obamacare, Commission Chairperson Ken Welch told reporters, but at the local level were just concerned with getting good health care and information to all of our citizens.
In Miami-Dade, the mayor and county commission seemed similarly inclined. We welcome the federal government doing that, Mayor Carlos Gimenez told the Herald. From my understanding, its just helping people navigate the new laws. I dont see any problems with that.
Scott and his cronies seem to regard the healthcare crisis as a political abstraction (never mind that the state has some 3.8 million residents without health insurance, 500,000 of them below the age of 19). The anti-Obamacare political theater may enthrall Tallahassee and Washington, but it doesnt play quite so well in a county like Miami-Dade, where local elected officials count 744,000 people under the age of 65 without health insurance. Only tiny, impoverished Hendry County has a higher percentage of uninsured residents than Miami-Dades 34.4 percent in Florida. The uninsured in Broward total 392,000.
Scott insists that his opposition to the navigators was born out of his deep concern that they would have access to confidential information from the applicants, that private records might come leaking out of the program.
This from the governor who wants to require all state employees to undergo drug testing, despite a court decision that found the proposal a massive and overreaching invasion of privacy.
Of course, the state and feds have been collecting Medicaid, Medicare, Childrens Health Insurance Program and the prescription drug assistance program info for years without much hubbub.
As the Heralds Kathleen McGrory reported this week, a new state law (and perhaps the only accommodation the state Legislature passed in connection with the Affordable Care Act) requires the navigators to register with the state Department of Financial Services. The department then reviews each would-be advisors qualifications, residence, prospective place of business, and any other matters that, in the opinion of the department, are deemed necessary or advisable for the protection of the public and to ascertain the applicants qualifications.