Doctor's In: ObamaCare is Good for Florida

Florida ranks third in the Nation for the health uninsured. ObamaCare should be welcomed.

Florida ranks third in the nation for numbers of health uninsured.  Twenty-five percent of citizens under 65 years of age are without health insurance.  That's 4 million without coverage. Twenty percent of all Florida’s children have no health insurance. About 50% of needy children are protected by CHIP, the children’s health insurance plan.

Barriers to the application process leave over 250,000 children without coverage.  Florida has lost millions of federal dollars and denied children coverage due to the complexity of the CHIP application.  It is suggested that 2,300 Florida citizens will die from lack of health coverage this year; that is more than 6 per day.  Aside from the death toll are the tens of thousands of Florida residents who will face disability and crisis care due to their lack of medications.

Those who avoid primary care because of cost and lack of coverage present a risk to themselves but also to the community.  Should they suffer untreated communicable disease they may spread illness to others. We continue to witness increasing TB infection due to Florida's uninsured homeless. All citizens are at risk. 

If these individuals receive free care through the Emergency Room the insured foot the bill due to higher insurance premiums.  Emergency room treatment is the most expensive care. It makes sense to expand Medicaid.  ObamaCare will do this.

The cost to the state is zero the first two years and will never exceed 10% of Medicaid costs. Expanded Medicaid allows most uninsured to be covered.They can then receive preventive care, have a medical home, and avoid unnecessary emergency room visits.

All residents benefit with coverage and that argues to the importance of universal health care. The United States, especially Florida, can claim no bragging rights for the quality of health care when 25% of those under 65 years of age have no insurance. Obama Care will help.  The Governor should stop playing politics and accept the Accountable Care Act (ObamaCare).  Lives will be saved and Florida will be a healthier place.

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Marc J. Yacht MD, MPH October 21, 2012 at 10:37 PM
Clarification – Relating to Florida children’s health. There are 2 Million low-income to poor resident children. 1.4 Million are covered by Medicaid or CHIP (expanded Medicaid), about 600,000 are uninsured who could qualify. It is better to group Medicaid and Chip together to better get understand the context of the problem. The process for qualification for Medicaid and particularly CHIP (Children’s Health Insurance Program) historically is cumbersome in Florida.
Marc J. Yacht MD, MPH October 24, 2012 at 10:46 AM
Update on Children's health uninsured in Florida. A new study has been released by Georgetown University Health Policy Institute’s Center for Children and Families that 475,112 Florida children are uninsured through 2011. This does not agree with data from the Kaiser Family Foundation. The study further suggests that less than 12% of children are uncovered. They base this percentage against the total number of Florida children, 4 Million. As the uninsured are focused among low income to poor children - 2 Million, adding children above 200% of poverty guidlines skews the results to suggest a lessor problem. However with all that said Florida still ranks third in the nation for uninsured children. If the Georgetown numbers are correct and 125,000 additional children have been insured in conflict with Kaiser Family foundation data then that suggests a positive trend in Florida. To continue this trend Obama Care should be welcomed. Refusing Obama Care could reverse this postive direction for Florida kids.


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