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Garcia, Rodriguez to host health care forum

Have questions about the new federal health care law?

State Sen. Rene Garcia, R-Hialeah, and state Rep. Jose Javier Rodriguez, D-Miami, have answers.

The two lawmakers will hold a public forum on Thursday to help South Floridians understand their options for health care coverage. Attendees will also "learn how to enroll in new health plans," according to an email distributed Monday. 

"Changes in law that affect health care and health insurance will be going into effect soon," the lawmakers wrote. "Many of us have questions about how these changes will affect us, our families and our community."

Surprised to see a Republican hosting the event while so many others are bashing ObamaCare?

"I’m not a fan of the policy," said Garcia, who sits on the Senate Health Policy Committee. "But it’s the law, so we need to abide by it. I want to make sure that the public has as much information as possible." 

Garcia raised a number of concerns with the federal policy, including its cost and how it might hurt small businesses, he said.

"Those are serious questions," he added. "If you ask different people, you get different answers."

Garcia did, however, push for Florida to accept federal money to expand Medicaid -- a plan that was ultimately blocked by the Florida House. Garcia said he doesn't hide from that vote. "I truly think we are doing a disservice to the residents of Florida when we don’t accept those dollars," he said.

The forum will be held at 5:30 p.m. on Thursday at CAMACOL (the Latin Chamber of Commerce), 1417 West Flagler St. in Miami.

The event is free and open to the public, and will be conducted in English and Spanish.