On the first day that consumers could shop for Obamacare insurance plans, the Miami-Dade County Commission quietly took steps to defy Gov. Rick Scott’s order banning federal coordinators from local health departments.
Commissioners unanimously approved a last-minute proposal Tuesday to allow so-called “navigators” on county-owned facilities. But it stopped short of mandating that the navigators work at county-owned health buildings run by the state.
Instead, the board asked Mayor Carlos Gimenez’s administration to review the county’s health-department leases with the state and, over the next 30 days, come up with options to allow the navigators entry to those properties to educate people and help them sign up for insurance.
Commissioners also formally asked the Florida Department of Health, which is under the governor’s direction, to repeal its ban.
In addition, commissioners instructed administrators to draw up a list of county properties, including office buildings, libraries and parks, where navigators could hold activities, and to let navigators use those facilities if they want.
“We have nearly 35 percent of Miami-Dade’s population that’s uninsured,” Commissioner Jean Monestime, who sponsored the measure, said after the meeting. “It’s important to allow these individuals to seek access to healthcare.”
In neighboring Broward County, a commission made up almost entirely of Democrats flouted the Republican governor’s ban last week to much fanfare, ordering county-owned facilities run by the state health department to let the navigators in.
Not so in Miami-Dade, where a commission with a GOP majority treaded more carefully, even though several members called the ban a bad idea. The mayor and commission posts are nonpartisan.