Perriello served one term in Congress (2008-2010) in Virginia, and he blasted GOP lawmakers who have consistently opposed the law while refusing to explain the benefits of it to their constituents. House Republicans recently voted for the 40th time to defund the law.
"Even when there's a bill you disagree with, you have an obligation to inform your constituents," he said, referring to how he strongly opposed the TARP bill in 2008, but felt that it was part of his job to provide as much information about it to the people in his district.
For the report, the researchers examined the rate of uninsured individuals among seven factors, including rates of uninsured women, young people, and minorities.
The report stated that more than half — 53.2 percent — of Hispanics in DeSoto County lack health insurance, placing it among the worst 5 percent of all counties in the nation.
It also stated that Miami-Dade County has 759,908 non-elderly residents who lack heath care coverage, a staggering number that Laura Goodhue with Florida CHAIN said is higher than the number of uninsured in some states in the country.
"This is a big challenge. Most people don't even know about these opportunities," Goodhue said about the exchanges and how those who qualify will be able to access health care.
However, hundreds of thousands of Floridians who also would have been eligible for health care under the Affordable Care Act won't get such coverage, due to the fact that the Florida Legislature failed to accept the federal government's offer on Medicaid expansion.
Florida is one of 27 states that opted to not expand Medicaid. That's despite Gov. Rick Scott's request that the Legislature do so.
Republicans in Tallahassee said they refused to go along with the plan because they don't trust the federal government to follow through with its payment commitment. The plan offered by the White House would pay all of the costs for Medicaid expansion for the first three years, requiring only a 10 percent match to the government's 90 percent funding after that. Currently the federal government and the states share the costs of providing Medicaid to eligible patients at an almost 50-50 level (the federal government pays slightly more).
On a conference call today, Martiza Hernandez, a former registered nurse, discussed her recent situation with heath care coverage. A self-described 55-year-old grandmother, Hernandez said she had coverage throughout her career as a nurse. But then three years ago she became ill and disabled and lost her job, and her health insurance, as did her son. "All of a sudden I was kicked to the curb," she said about a spinal cord issue she had.
"This is a basic need here," she said. "We do need this."