FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Date: Tuesday, September 17, 2013
Contact: Rachel Johnson, 305.771.2167
Mayor Gimenez plans to eliminate Miami-Dade County's Health Care Planning Department on October 1st, the same day a major change to the health care system takes effect nationwide: brand-new online health exchanges open and enrollment begins.
The planning department is in charge of providing strategic solutions to help residents find insurance and planning for changes in health care. Currently 800,000 residents of Miami-Dade, or a third of our population, lack any health insurance.
By slashing the department from the budget, Mayor Gimenez follows the lead of Governor Rick Scott and tea party Republicans to sabotage the Affordable Care Act and prevent low-income Americans from accessing life-saving, affordable health coverage.
Under Rick Scott's direction, the Florida Department of Health recently announced it will ban navigators — the community organizations charged with explaining health care options to Floridians — from setting foot in county health department offices. The ban, decried as “unconscionable” and “absurd” by Democrats across the state, will prevent navigators from sharing much-needed information with Florida’s uninsured, disproportionately impacting low-income people and people of color.
“This move by Gimenez on the heels of Governor Scott’s reprehensible navigator ban puts the people of Miami-Dade at a double disadvantage,” said Annette Taddeo-Goldstein, Miami-Dade Democratic Party Chair. “This is an irresponsible, politically motivated action designed to undermine Obamacare at all costs. If you have ever wondered what tea party government looks like at the local level — look no further. Mayor Gimenez has continually pushed for an austerity budget on the backs of our low-income and middle-class residents while he brokers sweetheart deals for billionaires like Stephen Ross,” she added.
The county commission will finalize the new budget on Thursday, September 19th at 6 pm. There is no room for public comment. The Democratic Party urges residents of Miami-Dade to call and email our commissioners and ask them not to cut this vital health program from the county budget:
Mayor Carlos Gimenez, 305.375.5071, firstname.lastname@example.org
District 5: Bruno A. Barreiro, 305.375.5924, email@example.com
District 6: Rebeca Sosa, 305.375.5696, firstname.lastname@example.org
District 7: Xavier L. Suarez, 305.669.4003, email@example.com
District 8: Lynda Bell, 305.375.5218, firstname.lastname@example.org
District 10: Javier D. Souto, 305.375.4835, email@example.com
District 11: Juan C. Zapata, 305.375.5511, firstname.lastname@example.org
District 12: José "Pepe" Diaz, 305.375.5218, email@example.com
District 13: Esteban Bovo, Jr., 305.375.4831, firstname.lastname@example.org