ROFLMAO!! Marco Rubio's Failed "Anti-Obamacare" Exchange wants to start selling...Obamacare

Marco Rubio

OK, Sherman, let's fire up the Wayback Machine and revisit August 29th, 2014, shall we?

TALLAHASSEE — Last year, legislators allocated $900,000 to help Floridians find affordable health care through a new state-backed website.

At the same time, they refused to expand Medicaid or work with the federal government to offer subsidized insurance plans.

Six months after the launch of the state's effort, called Florida Health Choices (, just 30 people have signed up. Another seven plans were canceled either because consumers changed their minds or didn't pay for services.

As I noted at the time:

After two months of taking ravenous glee at Healthcare.Gov's technical woes and low inital enrollment numbers last fall, followed by 5 month months of basically refusing to believe it when the numbers reached 5.4 million (plus another 2.6 million on the state ACA exchanges), and another 4 months since then of muttering into their beer about "but...but how many HAVE PAID???" even after the insurance companies themselves confirmed that a good 85-90% of enrollees were doing so...

...after all of that, it turns out that the Republicans in Florida tried launching their own "health insurance marketplace" on the taxpayers' dime...and it was so incredibly "successful" that six months later, only 37 people even tried to purchase their offerings...and 7 of those (19%) skipped out without paying.

Yup, even the payment rate at the GOP-run exchange is worse than that of the Affordable Care Act.

As a bonus, as I also noted, $900K / 30 customers. That's $30,000 per enrollee...or up to 46x as much as the "wasteful, overpriced" HealthCare.Gov's $647 per person.

But wait, there's more: This "Florida Health Choices" program, which was, amusingly, spearheaded by Republican Senator Marco Rubio in 2008, doesn't even sell actual healthcare policies:

But Health Choices doesn't sell comprehensive health insurance to protect consumers from big-ticket costs such as hospitalization. Instead, it has limited benefit options and discount plans for items like dental visits, prescription drugs and eyeglasses.

...Of the 30 policies currently active, 14 are prescription drug discount cards and another 12 are a dental and vision discount plan. The rest are plans offering discounted doctor visits and online support.

Prescription drug discount plans are controversial because they sometimes charge fees for the same savings consumers could get without them. A 2012 Consumer Reports study said discount plans made it difficult to comparison shop and many national retail chains offer their own steep discounts on common generic drugs.

So, it's a) basically a scam; b) an utter failure; and c) cost the taxpayers of Florida up to 46x as much per enrollee as HealthCare.Gov. Sounds like par for the course for the GOP.

Still, why am I bringing this up tonight?

Because their failure up until now appears to have forced "Florida Health Choices" hand into making a hilariously ironic policy change:

A mandate-free health care “marketplace” established by former House Speaker Marco Rubio will start selling plans that are compliant with the federal health care law.

But a move to have the marketplace interface with the federal health insurance exchange so low income Floridians can qualify for tax credits hasn’t come to fruition, correspondence from Florida Health Choices Chief Executive Officer Rose Naff shows.

In a December 1 letter to U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia M. Burwell Florida Health Choices Chief Executive Officer Rose M. Naff said the program will begin offering products that are compliant with the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act–commonly called Obamacare–in “a few short weeks.”

She said the organization –created in statute as a mandate free health care marketplace by Rubio — did not offer the product on November 15 in deference to the federal government and to “minimize confusion among your target audience.”


I'm sure Florida Republicans will be very interested in Senator Rubio explaining why his brainchild is now reduced to begging the HHS Dept. to allow them to sell Obamacare policies...especially if he throws his hat in the POTUS ring for 2016...

In all seriousness, though, assuming they do manage to get approval/authorization for this, it seems to me that "Florida Health Choices" could conceivably end up ACA-compliant State Based Healthcare Exchange???

Calling Nicholas Bagley...