Affordable Care Act Sign-ups Are Up In Florida

The GOP has no plan ready to replace Obamacare. So, what comes next for the Affordable Care Act?

Nearly 1.3 million Floridians, have signed up for Affordable Care Act marketplace plans as of this week, putting the Sunshine State on track to exceed last year’s enrollment figures and top all states in the country for Healthcare.gov sign ups. All of this happening, despite President-elect Donald Trump and the Republican Congress expected repealing and replacing the law.

The total of people enrolling in the Affordable Care Act in Florida includes more than 214,000 people from the Tampa Bay area. Other large markets in Florida for enrollment are Miami-Fort Lauderdale and Orlando.

H.H.S. Secretary Silvia Burwell talks to News Talk Florida earlier this month.

It is very important to note that the enrollment figures provided Wednesday don’t include customers who will be automatically re-enrolled in their existing marketplace plans.

President-elect Trump has said that he would repeal and replace Obamacare “simultaneously,” so that there would be no delay in coverage. However, Congressional Republicans have yet to reach consensus on what will replace Obamacare, and how quickly a new plan should take hold. Some say they shouldn’t repeal the Affordable Care Act without a new health care law ready to go. Others — eager for a speedy political win — want to repeal the law but include a transition period to prevent as many as 22 million Americans from losing their insurance and that would include 2.2 million people in the state of Florida.

House Speaker Paul Ryan said earlier this month that it will likely involve some sort of delayed repeal to ensure that “no one is worse off” afterward.

Joe Henderson, Tom Jackson and Jim Williams look at the future of Obamacare

He told The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel he expects Congress to vote early next year to repeal the 2010 law, adding: “clearly there will be a transition and a bridge so that no one is left out in the cold, so that no one is worse off. The purpose here is to bring relief to people who are suffering from Obamacare so that they can get something better.”

What’s more, Republicans are still debating a host of replacement plans. They’ve gotten vague directives from Trump, who has both called for a full repeal and said he wants to keep popular elements of Obamacare, such as protecting people with pre-existing conditions and allowing the young to remain on their parents’ insurance until age 26.

The issue is poised to pit Texas Congressman Peter Sessions, chairman of the House Rules Committee, in rare opposition to other House leaders. He’ll also be competing with plans from a host of other powerful lawmakers, such as Georgia Rep. Tom Price, newly nominated as Trump’s secretary of health and human services.

Sessions said he’s not interested in a battle with his teammates, but he urged them to fix what’s broken instead of starting from scratch. He also doubts that Republicans have the needed votes to dismantle the law without a ready replacement.

Meanwhile, the boost in sign-ups in Florida has driven up the national numbers to a record level. Nationally, about 6.4 million people had selected plans through Monday, about a 400,000 increase over last year, according to government figures released Wednesday. By this point last year, about 1.1 million Floridians had signed up and its present it will smash all records both in the state as well as nationally.

Health insurance enrollments on the federal exchange marketplaces served by HealthCare.gov are outpacing last year’s sign-ups, Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell announced Wednesday.

As of Monday’s deadline for customers who want coverage that will be in place by Jan. 1, 6.4 million people had chosen plans in the 39 states where federal authorities operate the exchanges, including more than 2 million new customers.

The overall total is an increase of 400,000 from a comparable period a year ago, Burwell said. Last Thursday was a record-breaking day for HealthCare.gov enrollment, President Barack Obama said last week.

Several state-based exchanges have yet to announce their sign up figures and of course they are not counted in the 6.4 million. That is why H.H.S. officials are pleased with the numbers.

There is more than a month left to sign up for the Affordable Care Act both in Florida as well as nationally. The deadline for signing up for the Open enrollment continues through Jan. 31.

 

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Jim Williams is the Washington Bureau Chief, Digital Director as well as the Director of Special Projects for Genesis Communications. He is starting his third year as part of the team. This is Williams 40th year in the media business, and in that time he has served in a number of capacities. He is a seven time Emmy Award winning television producer, director, writer and executive. He has developed four regional sports networks, directed over 2,000 live sporting events including basketball, football, baseball hockey, soccer and even polo to name a few sports. Major events include three Olympic Games, two World Cups, two World Series, six NBA Playoffs, four Stanley Cup Playoffs, four NCAA Men’s National Basketball Championship Tournaments (March Madness), two Super Bowl and over a dozen college bowl games. On the entertainment side Williams was involved s and directed over 500 concerts for Showtime, Pay Per View and MTV Networks.