TAMPA - The largest federal grant to enroll Florida consumers in the new Affordable Care Act program went to a University of South Florida based group that will hire navigators in 64 out of Florida's 67 counties.
That's why President Barack Obama's health and human services secretary, Kathleen Sebelius came to USF's CAMLS learning lab in downtown Tampa Tuesday to connect with navigator.
We asked Sebelius why this USF based-group received the $4.2 million grant, the second largest grant to enroll consumers into the affordable care act in the country.
"The grants were really based on the area that would be covered and the number of uninsured.
Florida has the second highest uninsured population in the country and USF has a statewide coalition, they ended up with a more significant grant" said Sebelius.
Kathleen Sebelius joined a panel that included navigators and students who will soon sign up for Obamacare. College student Savanah Goodland has no insurance at her waitress job.
"For me, being uninsured is terrifying because I can't afford to be playing a soccer game and fall and hurt myself and not be able to work" said Goodland.
Sebelius acknowledged the web based signup portal, healthcare.gov has been overwhelmed by some 10 million hits but believes consumers will persevere through the glitches.
"I have every confidence the website will be running smoothly in the very near future. We know people are already enrolling in the website and there people who have waited their whole lives for health care security, so I don't think they're going to go away" said Sebelius.
When asked about the opposition Obamacare faces from Florida's Governor and legislature, Sebelius pointed to local leaders like Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn who are on board.
Sebelius also stressed that uninsured Floridians have 174 more days to sign up without any penalty.
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