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Expert: Repealing ACA Would Be "Devastating" for Florida

More than 2 million Floridians would lose health-care coverage under a partial repeal of the ACA. (DodgertonSkillhause/morguefile)
More than 2 million Floridians would lose health-care coverage under a partial repeal of the ACA. (DodgertonSkillhause/morguefile)
December 13, 2016

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Congress is considering repealing parts of the Affordable Care Act, and a new report suggests Florida would be one of the states most dramatically impacted by that plan.

The Urban Institute research shows that in Florida, more than two million children and adults would lose coverage, nearly doubling the number of uninsured in the state.

Miriam Harmatz, senior health law attorney with Florida Legal Services, said repealing the ACA without a plan to replace it would hit those Floridians who need health coverage the most.

"They're working, but they couldn't pay for their diabetes medicine, or their high blood pressure medicine, or their set of dentures," she said. "They couldn't do basic health care that kept them from their full productivity."

The partial repeal would come through the budget reconciliation process and include the elimination of the premium tax credits, Medicaid expansion and the individual mandate. Senate Republicans have said rolling back the law would have few impacts on the number of people without health insurance. But the report shows that nearly 30 million Americans would lose coverage.

Joan Alker, executive director of the Georgetown University Center for Children and Families, said there is a lot of misinformation about who would be most impacted by a repeal of the ACA. She explained it's not just those who are low-income.

"Eighty-two percent of those losing coverage would be in working families," she added. "The majority of those are non-Hispanic whites and 80 percent of the adults becoming uninsured would not have college degrees."

Alker also added repeal would cause chaos in state budgets as well.

"Families' health-care needs won't disappear if their coverage goes away," she warned. "And the responsibility for responding to that will fall squarely into the states' lap and we'll have huge gaps in our health-care safety net."

The report showed that over the next 10 years, Florida would lose $87 billion in federal health-care funding, more than any other state.

Mona Shand, Public News Service - FL