Chris Jepson: Health careless in Florida

Mica's "plan" to fix health care in Florida is just vague ideas, the go-to favorite being to cut regulations on Florida's most notorious industry.

  • By
  • | 10:31 a.m. September 11, 2013
  • Winter Park - Maitland Observer
  • Opinion
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Twenty-five percent of Floridians do not have health insurance. Last month I contacted Congressman John Mica’s 7th District office and requested his plan for providing good health care and coverage for all Floridians. I received, via email, a 14-Point Plan, guidelines as the Congressman phrased it, for fixing the flaws of Obamacare.

I leave it to you to determine the sincerity of his “guidelines” to actually cover Florida’s uninsured.

Mica’s number one plank for insuring Florida’s uninsured — and I quote — is “Focus on increasing access to existing plans.” OK, Congressman, and how would you accomplish that? This is banality. It’s like telling an individual experiencing an asthmatic attack to take in more air. Access how? Be specific. How would you do that, Congressman?

Congressman Mica’s second plank for insuring Florida’s uninsured (I am not kidding) is “increasing the number of insured Americans with competing plans.” Congressman, the question on the table is Florida’s uninsured.

Oh, did I mention that Congressman Mica is a Republican – hence, planks number three and four. Three is to “address issues that drive health care costs up and lessen needless regulatory burdens.” Yes, of course, it is regulatory burdens that leave Florida’s poor without health care. Number four reads “create more jobs and greater economic growth by not placing needless regulatory burdens to improve coverage.”

I trust you are beginning to see the pattern.

Plank number five is to “allow individuals maximum choice and lower health care premiums which only increased competition provides.” Republicans sure love the idea of maximum choice except when it comes to a woman’s body.

Plank number 11 reads “maintain the 30 year Federal policy that prohibits taxpayer funding of abortions and provide conscience protections for health care providers.” Do either of these planks address insuring Florida’s uninsured? Actually, yes, they do. In a manner of speaking.

Plank eight is a personal favorite. “Keep the government out of patients’ sick beds by protecting the doctor-patient relationship.” Haha! Too funny, Congressman. That supposes the uninsured sick are actually patients in a bed. Oh, yes, of course, I see — their own.

There has to be a plank (number 10) that reads, “Expand incentives to encourage personal responsibility for health care coverage and costs.” You’d think poverty (being poor/poorer), according to Republican values, would be incentive enough. Bootstraps, Lad! Hey, maybe the ’Pubs are onto something. By increasing poverty in America, more citizens will take responsibility and self-insure. Sure sounds like a plan to me.

Republicans at the state level are doing their part, as well, to ensure that the uninsured remain that way. This year the Florida legislature passed, and Gov. Rick Scott signed into law, a bill preventing Florida’s insurance commissioner from regulating insurance premiums.

Now, you might quite reasonably ask, why would you want to prevent the state insurance commissioner from negotiating with insurance companies (on behalf of Floridians) for lower premiums? Think. Oh, did I mention that the law is in affect for the next two years?

Will the Republican State Legislature, in its attempt to sandbag Obamacare, have insurance premiums rise for all Floridians? Unfortunately, this is health care in Florida. Congressman Mica opened his letter to me with “I have long been an advocate for access to affordable health care for all Americans.” He omitted eight words… “but only for those Floridians who can afford it.”


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