Health care overhaul rumors swirl in South Florida

As details emerge about the health care reforms advancing through Congress, Robert Rabinowitz, an uninsured Miami Beach real-estate agent, is getting increasingly concerned.

Both the House and Senate bills propose delaying the most important components until 2013 or 2014. "That's a crock," said Rabinowitz, 57. "Why should they make people wait so long? We need something done now."

In fact, the two bills — each about 2,000 pages — are stuffed with details that are just now bubbling into the public consciousness.

Overall, the benefits could be huge for South Florida, where 28.1 percent of residents in Miami-Dade and 21.8 percent of Broward are uninsured.

Still, rumors are flying. Rabinowitz says he's heard on Rush Limbaugh's radio show that the Senate proposal to help pay for reforms by taxing medical devices will mean price hikes on everything from tooth brushes to tampons. "That's how crazy and ridiculous this bill is," said Rabinowitz.

In fact, page 2,023, paragraph A, of the new Senate bill excludes devices that cost less than $100.

That's just one of the thousands of small items proposed in the bills.

And here's the big picture for Florida, as reported this week by Health and Human Services:

Reforms will facilitate affordable coverage for four million Floridians who are now uninsured and 1.1 million who presently have expensive plans purchased on the individual market.

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