The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has notified local politicians that Secretary Kathleen Sebelius will drop by Miami on Friday to continue trying to smooth over the troubled federal healthcare law rollout, the Miami Herald has learned.
The visit would be Sebelius' third in four months to promote the Affordable Care Act. Miami-Dade County has the highest number of uninsured residents in Florida, which in turn is the state with the second-highest number rate of uninsured residents in the nation.
Only about 3,500 people in Florida and about 106,000 across the country selected health plans using the federal online insurance exchange at healthcare.gov in October, a far lower number than proponents of the legislation hoped for amid the website's serious technological problems.
That rate more than quadrupled in November after some tech fixes had been made, HHS reported this week, with Florida leading in number of selected health plans out of the 36 states that rely on the federal insurance exchange. Sebelius is expected to tout those improvements Friday.
But it's unclear how many of those are uninsured people signing up -- as opposed to people with insurance simply switching over to a new plan.
Another potential problem for President Obama's administration: Hispanics, who are among the most likely demographic to be uninsured, are apparently not flocking to sign up. The Spanish-language version of healthcare.gov -- cuidadodesalud.gov -- was delayed because the site was not fully functional, and though it soft-launched over the weekend, the government still has to work on promoting it to users.