What’s at stake for Florida in health care vote?

More than 1.7 million Floridians have a private health care plan through the ACA

Florida led the way in getting more people private health insurance under the Affordable Care Act, and the state has a lot at stake as the U.S. Senate considers a major overall of the health care law.


More than 1.7 million Floridians — including 54,454 people in Sarasota and Manatee counties — have a private health care plan through the ACA and 90 percent of those policies are subsidized with tax credits, lowering the average premium from $442 to $118 per month. Not even California has that many people covered under the law.

But while the program has been widely utilized, it remains extremely divisive.


The issue is contentious enough that U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio — a conservative Florida lawmaker who campaigned on ACA repeal — tweeted last Sunday that the Senate bill “needs changes before I vote yes.” Senate leaders rolled out a new version late last week that Rubio seems to favor. He praised a provision in the revised bill that allows insurers to sell cheaper, less comprehensive policies and said he will support a motion to proceed with debate on the bill this week. U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, a Florida Democrat, opposes the bill, along with every other senator in his party.


Critics of repealing the law have been bombarding Rubio’s offices with telephone calls, emails and letters. Supporters of repeal have been much less active, but many are quietly watching the debate with keen interest.

With GOP leaders working to secure


enough ‘yes’ votes to repeal and replace the health law, here’s a rundown of how the legislation impacts Florida:


Fewer covered


Much of the debate surrounding the GOP health care plans has focused on how they would affect the uninsured rate. Florida’s uninsured population steadily declined after the ACA was adopted.


The Congressional Budget Office projected that 22 million fewer people would have health insurance nationwide in 2026 under the initial Senate bill. The CBO had not scored the revised Senate bill released late last week, but because the legislation maintains the key components of the original bill — including steep cuts to future Medicaid spending and a repeal of the individual mandate to buy insurance — it is expected to result in significantly more uninsured people.


“It’s going to be so expensive for people,” said Louisa McQueeney, who leads the group Florida Voices for Health. “It’s like we’re going to go way backwards.”


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