FORT LAUDERDALE (CBSMiami) – Broward County is thumbing its proverbial nose at Governor Rick Scott and his decision to ban navigators from county health departments.
The Broward County Commission voted 8-1 that the state can’t bar Affordable Care Act navigators from county-owned health department buildings. The move followed a similar decision by Pinellas County.
“I think this starts a fight,” said the commission’s only Republican member Chip LaMarca. “I can’t support it!” County Mayor Kristen Jacobs responded, “I’d say that fight’s already been started, commissioner, by the governor himself.”
Scott ordered county health departments to ban navigators from conducting any outreach on their property. It was the latest, and possibly last, move by opponents of the ACA to try to derail its implementation. Navigators are trained to walk people through the intricacies of the law and help sort through health plans offered through a new state exchange run by the federal government.
Scott said identity theft concerns prohibited him from supporting navigators.
“In Minnesota,” said Governor Scott, “2,400 individuals, their driver’s license numbers, were released by a navigator. So we want to make sure how are these navigators going to use this information.”
An estimated 3.5 million Floridians lack insurance, second only to Texas in uninsured residents.
So far, many people don’t understand how the affordable healthcare act works.
“Have you heard of the Affordable Health Care Act?” CBS 4’s Ted Scouten asked Christina Sarsour. “No,” she responded.
Scouten spoke to several people outside a health department office in Fort Lauderdale. Not one person understood the insurance plan.
“Has anyone explained anything?” Scouten asked Shirrial Curthers. “No,” she said. “And you haven’t gotten a lot of information otherwise?” Scouten asked. “No sir,” she said.
Now Broward, along with Pinellas County, are the only two of Florida’s 67 counties that will have navigators in health department buildings come Tuesday, when the next phase of the Affordable Healthcare Act kicks in.
When asked if she thought the governor would fight back, Mayor Jacobs said, “Well my attitude is, here in Broward County, Bring it on!”
For more information on the Affordable Care Act, including a glossary of terms and a brief overview, visit our website at cbsmiami.com/aca. Broward residents seeking more information can also visit Broward.org.