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Miami mayor backs advocacy group that aims to close health care coverage gap

By: Nina Lincoff

Miami Mayor Tomás Regalado will back Florida CHAIN, an advocacy group working to close Florida's health care coverage gap, at a press conference Monday.

Regalado will join Julio Fuentes, president of the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce; Athena Smith Ford, advocacy director for Florida CHAIN, and other community leaders to call on Florida lawmakers to take action to boost signups. The press conferences is at 9:45 a.m. in Miami's City Hall Commission Chambers, 3500 Pan American Drive.

This year, during open enrollment for health care coverage, South Florida had the most signups among major metro regions, with 756,137 signups through the website. Florida also led signups among states, with 1,600,006 new signups or re-enrollments, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

However, nearly 1 million Floridians are still unable to get health care coverage, said Florida CHAIN, the statewide health advocacy group organizing the event.

"Over 280,000 people in Miami-Dade fall into this coverage gap," Ford said ."City of Miami Mayor Regalado will join local uninsured residents [at this press conference] … to [help] close the coverage gap."

The gap was created in part by the state's refusal of federal Medicaid expansion, which amounts to a denial of $50 billion available to Florida through the Affordable Care Act, according to Florida CHAIN. The ACA, otherwise known as Obamacare, allows for individuals to select a health care insurance plan through a state or federally-run competitive healthcare marketplace.


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