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The GOP Offers an Alternative to Obamacare in Florida, 30 People Sign-Up

The Republican-led Florida government thought they could do better than Obamacare. So instead of expanding Medicaid, they decided to do their own thing.

It did not turn out as well as they planned.

After allocating $900,000 to their own website to help Floridians find health care, only 30 people have signed up via the Health Choices service in its first six months.

In the meantime, 764,000 Floridians in the state signed up for Obamacare.

One of the Republicans behind the website now admits that they just can’t compete with the federal healthcare initiative.

“Obviously we wanted more (business), but the competition is giving it away for free,” state Sen. Aaron Bean said.

One of the main differences between the two offerings, though, is not only the price, but what is offered through the sites. While the Obamacare site offers comprehensive insurance, Health Choices is modeled after a discount program and offers only limited benefits that do not provide coverage if a person is hospitalized or has a catastrophic health event.

With the lack of sign-ups, Health Choices is also now in serious jeopardy.

The idea was that the Health Choices site would be self-sustaining in a year after they collected all the payments from new subscribers.

Yet, 30 takers can’t even begin to pay the Health Choices’s CEO’s $126,000 salary, let alone the other operational expenses of the fledgling program.

Bean, who is still behind the program, admits that he will have a tough time convincing even a Republican legislature to shell out more money to a program with such poor results.

“It’s going to be an extremely tough sell to give them more money, so I’m extremely optimistic that they’re going to be self-sustaining before then,” the state legislator said, not saying exactly how he was going to strong arm thousands of Floridians into signing up before then.

Dr. Mona Mangat, a Florida physician, however, counters that the solution is not to try to prop up Obamacare’s weak state-backed counterpart yet again, but instead pay up so more Floridians can have real healthcare coverage at last.

“We can do better in Florida,” she said. “We really can. If we just accept federal funds and expand Medicaid and do the right thing, we would be spending our dollars much more wisely.”

Photo Credit: Screenshot (Florida Health Choices)

About the author

Tamar is a New York based freelance writer and photographer whose work has appeared in over 15 publications. You can catch her work regularly on Issue Hawk, Latest, Jspace, and MediaGlobal.