Sen. Nelson addresses health care, cybersecurity and more in Pensacola
PENSACOLA, Fla. (WEAR) —
The United States Senate will soon vote on the future of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) following the narrow House vote to repeal and replace it on Thursday.
U.S. Senator Bill Nelson made a stop in Northwest Florida on Friday where he addressed that issue and more.
Sen. Nelson toured the University of West Florida's Center for Cybersecurity. He believes the work of students and staff will help protect citizens from future cyber attacks.
Sen. Nelson said, "Everything we do is being touched by cyber and the possibility of attack."
He's impressed by what is taking place on the UWF campus. He got a chance to explore the school's state-of-the-art center.
Sen. Nelson said future wars are already being fought in cyber space and what UWF is doing is extremely important to protect this country. He believes lawmakers need to do their part.
"Once a cyber attack comes is to get ahead of it and get people warned," Sen. Nelson said. "If a business that is attacked it's voluntary for them to report to the Department of Homeland Security, it may be too late by the time that they finally report."
The senator also took time to address other issues affecting the community.
When it comes to the ACA, Sen. Nelson believes the House made the wrong move in voting to get rid of it.
The Senate's future vote to repeal and replace the ACA is drawing strong comments from the senator.
He calls the Republican's replacement deficient.
"Why there was this rush to try to get it done and not even know how much it costs," Sen. Nelson said.
He said the bill lessens coverage for seniors and increases the cost of their health insurance.
In addition, 24 million people will be left uninsured on top of massive cuts to Medicaid.
He said, "We know by our estimates already that they're cutting $850 billion out of Medicaid. That's healthcare for poor people. I don't think that's a particularly good thing to do."
One of the most debated provisions of the ACA is coverage of pre-existing conditions.
Sen. Nelson said this bill takes away the guarantee provided by the ACA.
"Don't let anybody tell you that it doesn't take away the guarantee," he said. "It does. It's in black and white in there. It's left up to the states.
Sen. Nelson said the GOP bill has no chance of passing the Senate.
He said, "Once we get through all of this exercise and it fails then I'm hoping the atmosphere is right to come in and do the changes to the Affordable Care Act that need to update it."
The Senate is looking at drafting its own healthcare bill which could delay a vote on the Republican bill.
He also touched on other topics like Florida's drinking water, which a new study called the second worst in the country.
Sen. Nelson said this proves agencies like the Environmental Protection Agency are needed.
"That's why you need an EPA to regulate what kind of chemicals are going down into our water supply so at the end of the day this will all work out, but in the meantime we better stay on top of this one," he said.
Furthermore, Sen. Nelson recently sent a letter to lawmakers expressing his displeasure with the shortened red snapper season.
He said recreational fishermen have a right to be upset.
Sen. Nelson has teamed up with Sen. Marco Rubio to hopefully extend the season.
"Here's an example of bipartisan cooperation. We have asked the government to reconsider this because we think it's ill-advised," he said.
Nelson said part of problem lies with the use of old data instead of using new data.