START OF 2018 OPEN ENROLLMENT PERIOD

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Good News!! FL Senate pushing for Obamacare Health Exchange Website...with a catch.

It would be for Medicaid expansion only.

I'm quite serious.

Just as House lawmakers were putting together their annual “trains” — cramming multiple, tangentially related bills into hundreds of pages of amendments so they could pass them all at the 11th hour — a funny thing happened. They upped and quit.

On April 27, House Speaker Steve Crisafulli prematurely banged his gavel, ending the session, leaving the Senate holding the bag on this year’s biggest, most contentious issue: Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act. Now a group of Senate Democrats has sued the GOP-dominated House, and as of this writing, the Florida Supreme Court says the lower chamber must explain its abrupt adjournment.

In a nutshell, the House doesn’t want Medicaid expansion but the Senate does. The upper chamber has a nifty non-Medicaid name for it, too. The Florida Health Insurance Exchange (or FHIX) is, in name, an attempt to help GOP senators get past the program’s unpalatable association with “Obamacare.”

FHIX focuses on people who wouldn’t qualify for the old, traditional Medicaid but who can’t afford private healthcare insurance. It’s being billed as a “free market” solution, and would finally give Florida its own Internet-based healthcare exchange. (In 2012, Florida opted out of creating an exchange for the ACA, following a Supreme Court decision that said it could, and Florida residents used Healthcare.gov instead.)

Yes, that's right. The completely Republican-controlled Florida state Senate, which is unwilling to lift a finger to help nearly 1.4 million middle class state residents in the event that the Supreme Court tears away their federal healthcare subsidies by setting up a state-based exchange for private, commercial insurance policies, is, in a surreal flip-flop, openly pushing to set up a similar state-based exchange to help out over 800,000 poor Floridians.

Don't get me wrong: I'm glad to hear it, even if the FL Senate plan would force those 800K people to jump through a bunch of unnecessary hoops to qualify...but it's the height of irony that they're OK with helping out those they hate the most (poor people) while simultaneously giving those they supposedly like (middle class people) the shaft.

Of course, it's even more inane that the only reason that the Senate GOP is willing to accept this money from President Obama is in order to also receive that Obamacare money.

Or, as FL Gov. Rick Scott put it, "Keep Your Gubbmint Hands Off My Obamacare!!"

We're living in very weird times, folks.