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Florida Health Advocates: Against All Odds, Obamacare is Working

About half of the public continues to hold a favorable view of the Affordable Care Act, according to a July Kaiser Health Tracking Poll. (Pixabay)
About half of the public continues to hold a favorable view of the Affordable Care Act, according to a July Kaiser Health Tracking Poll. (Pixabay)
July 31, 2018

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – The Affordable Care Act – or "Obamacare" – has managed to weather the storm despite ongoing attempts by President Donald Trump to dismantle his predecessor's landmark achievement.

The latest attempt to chip away at the law includes an announcement by the Trump administration that it would temporarily halt what's known as "risk adjustment payments," which some say could lead to rising premiums. But even as Republicans continue to poke holes in the law, analysts say the individual marketplace has reached a fragile balance.

Karen Egozi, chief executive with the Epilepsy Foundation of Florida, says one of the key parts of the health-care law was not leaving millions of people with pre-existing conditions to fend for themselves.

"It was never a perfect system, but there is a lot that's working and I hope that we're able to keep those things that are working and build on it rather than break them down," she says.

Republicans and the Trump administration claim the law is imploding, but last year's enrollment only dipped by 3.8 percent and even the repeal of the individual mandate has not led to the catastrophic death spirals that critics predicted would happen.

A July Kaiser Family Foundation's Health Tracking poll shows more than half of Americans say they don't want the Affordable Care Act overturned; and that health care is the number one issue in a slew of other recent polls.

While uncertainty remains around the future of the law, Egozi says millions of people are still signing up and have access to critical care.

"We get the essential health benefits, particularly really important mental-health services, we get prescription-drug services, preventive-health services – and maternity care for women is very important," she adds.

However, a program that features "navigators" designed to provide unbiased enrollment assistance is bracing for another round of funding cuts. The entire state, which received $6.5 million last year, will now only get $1.2 million to split between service providers such as the Epilepsy Foundation.

Egozi says she hopes lawmakers will come together and work toward finding better solutions to fixing the health-care law.

Trimmel Gomes, Public News Service - FL