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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Florida CHAIN to lose paid staff



The non-profit organization that fought for Medicaid expansion in Florida will no longer have paid employees, Board of Directors Chairwoman Christine Fisher said Monday.

The decision was made after the Florida Community Health Action Information Network, or CHAIN, lost $375,000 in funding for the upcoming year. The money was contingent on Hillary Clinton winning the Nov. 8 election.

“The dollars, rather than going to CHAIN, are going to be sent elsewhere to different projects in states throughout the country,” said CEO Mark Pafford, a former member of the Florida House who is among the staffers losing their jobs.

For the time being, Pafford said, CHAIN will rely on volunteers.

“It is going to get back to its roots and function as a volunteer advocacy organization depending on technology and saying smart things to keep people motivated,” he said.

The news comes at a turbulent time for health care in the United States. President-elect Donald J. Trump has vowed to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, meaning as many as 20 million people nationwide, including some 1.5 million Floridians, risk losing their health insurance. 

CHAIN had worked to help people get coverage through the ACA marketplaces, as well as Medicaid and Medicare.

CHAIN’s five paid employees will remain on the payroll through the end of 2016.

Fisher said the shift will not change the organization’s mission of expanding access to affordable health care.

“That mission does continue,” she said. “It will just continue on a smaller scale.”

CHAIN will maintain a presence in Tallahassee, she added, but without a paid lobbyist.

The organization is currently seeking new sources of revenue, Pafford said.

“We are hoping funders will understand the importance of a state like Florida,” he said.


[Last modified: Monday, November 21, 2016 3:42pm]


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