As Trump threatens to repeal Obamacare, these ‘insurance godmothers’ are signing up Florida Latinos

MIAMI (AP) Salsa music plays from the food court in a decaying shopping center in Miami as Latinos head to a kiosk and an office displaying Obamacare signs where they can renew their health coverage plans before the year ends. Expect to do.

The area near the mall where former Democratic President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul is more popular than anywhere else in the country, according to federal data. The area has shifted from Democrat to Republican in recent years, with Donald Trump hosting several rallies here as part of his outreach to Latino voters.

Trump, the current contender for the Republican presidential nomination in 2024, has promised to renew efforts to repeal and replace the 2010 law, which will be felt heavily in the area and possibly among some GOPs in South Florida. The change can be reversed. experts say.

President Joe Biden’s re-election campaign has already seized on Trump’s statements about Obamacare, “as part of his broader efforts to shape a widely expected rematch with Trump next year when Biden is vice president.” Was enacted as.

Odalis Arevalo, one of the managing partners of a health insurance agency that serves Spanish-speaking clients in Miami, said health insurance is something that is extremely important for everyone. And I know that everyone who supports the Republican Party, who has health insurance through Obamacare, will not support the fact that it would be moved from one day to the next. This is a fact.

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Arevalo and his business partner, Marcy Cabrera, started enrollment centers to help people navigate the Affordable Care Act’s insurance markets and recalls how some Cubans would walk away saying no, no, no after seeing the name Obamacare, Which was coined over opposition by Republicans. Overhaul of health insurance in the form of a costly government takeover.

Arevalo says insurers can no longer deny coverage based on pre-existing medical conditions, and this has attracted many Latinos to consider it. In the following years, women began enrolling by the thousands, earning them the nickname Madrinas del Obamacare, or Obamacare Godmothers, highlighting the important role of godparents in Latino culture.

They have since changed their name to Las Madrinas de los Seguros, or Insurance Godmothers, as they offer other plans. But they continue to display the words Obamacare on their office walls and in their advertisements.

Obamacare is seen on advertising flags, businesses, and bus signs throughout Miami. Federal data from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services shows how widely it is used here.

About 3.4 million Hispanics are covered by insurance through the health law. Florida leads in enrollment last year with more than 3.2 million consumers during the enrollment period from November to January 2022. Miami-Dade is the county with the most people enrolled, with nearly 750,000 subscribers, or more than a quarter of the total population.

Florida is also one of 10 states that have opposed expanding Medicaid coverage under a provision of the health law.

The two ZIP codes with the most sign-ups last year and this year are in Doral and Hialeah, centers of Venezuelan and Cuban communities just north of Miami and common stops for Trump’s visits and rallies.

Last month, Trump posted on his Truth Social social media site that the costs of Obamacare are out of control, plus, it is not good healthcare. Although he said he was considering options, he did not share any plans. But Trump said he would not back down from ending it, recalling when the late Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., blocked the then-president’s effort to repeal the law in July 2017.

During Trump’s administration, Republicans managed to pass a provision that zeroed out the penalty for not having health insurance. It was the most unpopular part of the law and the one that people in South Florida say made them feel more at ease with the plans. Hui.

The Miami Herald said in a recent editorial that Trump’s plans also echo those of Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, another 2024 GOP presidential candidate who is “far out of touch with voters.”

Biden’s campaign quickly garnered backlash, and Florida Democratic Party Chairwoman Nikki Fried specifically mentioned an area where Obamacare is popular.

Fried said Miami-Dade County would be most affected by Trump’s anti-health care agenda.

According to a KFF survey conducted in May 2023, 59% of Americans say they have a favorable opinion of the Affordable Care Act. The same survey from a nonprofit focused on health policy found that 66% of Hispanics say they have a favorable opinion of the law.

According to APVoteCast, a comprehensive survey of American voters, 62% of 2022 midterm voters in Florida said it should be the responsibility of the federal government to ensure that everyone in the country has health care coverage. Nearly one-third of Florida voters in the 2022 midterm elections said this should not be the job of government. Of Latino or Hispanic midterm voters in Florida, 77% said it should be the federal government’s responsibility to ensure health care coverage for all, while 1 in 5 said it should not.

Zulina Ruiz, a 72-year-old retired lawyer from Venezuela, said she learned about Affordable Care Act options soon after arriving in the U.S. in 2017. He said he is especially grateful for access to medications to treat his high blood pressure. , Green-card holders, refugees and other immigrants granted temporary protected status or who have recently arrived with humanitarian parole are also eligible for coverage under the law.

This is very important for me. He said, I don’t think any candidate can make this program disappear. They will leave millions of low-income people without insurance.

Ruiz became a US citizen in May, but has not registered with any party. She doesn’t know who she will vote for next year.

“I’m still undecided, and we don’t have official candidates yet,” Ruiz said, adding that she still feels more connected politically with Venezuela. Much of the growing support for Republicans in Miami is due to Trump’s record of opposing socialist leaders in Latin America, including the White House’s imposition of sanctions on Venezuelan officials.

But health policy is a top priority for me, Ruiz said.

The Biden campaign has run ads in battleground states contrasting his efforts to lower drug costs with Trump’s new promise to repeal health reform. The Florida market was not included in the advertising campaign.

Arevalo, one of the Obamacare godmothers, believes that voters in Miami do not necessarily accept all the positions of the candidates they ultimately support.

But as far as local decisions on Obamacare go, and despite initial hesitation about it, the program took off in Miami once people got the hang of it, he said.

When Trump was elected, some people came and said they wanted nothing to do with Obamacare. We said Obamacare, Trumpcare, whatever, he said what he told people. The important thing is that everyone has access to health insurance and can take care of their health.

Copyright 2023 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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