At a busy corner in the ZIP code with the highest number of Obamacare enrollments in the nation — 33012 in Hialeah —demonstrators armed with 30,000 signatures knocked on the door of state Rep. Jose Oliva’s office Thursday hoping to gain his support on the issue that has polarized Florida’s lawmakers: Medicaid expansion.
About 30 people showed up for the rally led by SEIU Local 1991, a union representing 5,000 healthcare workers in the Jackson Health System. They sought to convince Oliva — who was not in his office — and other House Republicans opposing expansion to change their minds before the start of the legislative special session next week.
The Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, includes a provision to expand Medicaid. Florida is among the 18 states that have not chosen to expand and a bitter dispute between Republicans in the House and Senate over the issue forced an early end to the regular session.
The groups delivered the signatures, collected over several months from around the state, to Oliva’s second-floor office at a shopping center, urging him to listen to his constituents.
“His constituents are telling him: ‘We want healthcare. We are buying healthcare under the Affordable Care Act,’” said Martha Baker, president of the local SEIU, before leaving the petition with Oliva’s secretary.