Today in St Petersburg, Governor Bush signed a new bill, called the Affordable Healthcare for Floridians Act, which he says will create more access to healthcare for, and give consumers more choices when in crafting a healthcare plan that fits their needs. WMNFS Andrew Stelzer has more


LT Gov Toni Jennings

ACT “We have 2.8 million Floridians, they don’t have insurance…they…�

Lieutenant governor Toni Jennings, along with senators Peaden and Farkas joined Governor bush at a ceremony to unveil the new healthcare legislation. The plan does several things. It creates a framework for hospitals and surgical centers to make pricing information public, so that people can shop around for the most affordable option when considering non-emergency procedures. It also creates the Florida Patient Safety Corporation, which will collect information and come up with recommendations as to how to reduce medical errors. But the aspect of the plan the governor focused on was the creation of Health Savings Accounts, or HSA’s

ACT “I want Florida to be a leader in this…�

Governor Bush explained the basics of HSA’s, which were created and signed into law by president Bush last year. HSA’s allow people to deposit pre-tax dollars into their HSA account up to the level of their deductible. The money will them earn interest, and can be spent on healthcare, or after age 65; may be spent of non-healthcare related expenses.

ACT “HSAs are like IRAs, if they don’t spend it, it continues to .

The governor is hoping that small employers, and government agencies will offer the HAS option to their employees, In the governments brochure about HSA’s, it doesn’t claim that they will actually lower heath acre costs, but says that it allows Floridians to better manage their healthcare expenses because they will be in more control of them.

ACT ‘If you make the right decisions and you avoid illness you make money and you’re ok.�

Lieutenant Governor Jennings admits that this will not solve the massive problem of Floridians without health coverage

ACT-Jennings “It is a start in the right direction…it doesn’t do everything we want..�

Although the event was billed as a town hall event, Governor Bush left before people were allowed to answer questions. Outside the USF-St Pete campus activities center, WMNF asked the governor when all citizens of Florida will have health insurance.

ACT “This will help reverse the tide of uninsured….health kids…will provide health care…if the question is when will people all have insurance, we can mandate it but it wont work.�

There were no healthcare consumer advocates at the town hall meeting; several tables were set up around the room staffed by health insurance companies, who worked together with the state government on creating the new healthcare act. WMNF spoke to Edwin Park works with the center for budget and policy priorities by phone this afternoon to find out what consumers might expect from Healthcare savings accounts.

That’s Edwin Park, with the center on budget and policy priorities.

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