Wasserman Schultz plans to introduce bill in wake of Hurricane Irma

The number of Hurricane Irma insurance claims continues to pile up. According to Florida’s office of insurance regulation, the total number of claims has reached 562,262, with estimated losses reaching $3,579,859,034.

In an interview with Yahoo Finance, Florida Democratic Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz stressed the need for significant relief and recovery in the state, adding that one of the biggest lessons learned from Hurricane Irma is the need for generators in nursing homes. The storm knocked out power across Florida and caused significant damage to Wasserman Schultz’s district, which includes parts of Broward and Miami-Dade counties.

“It’s stunning that nursing homes in the entire country, never mind Florida, aren’t required to have a backup generator that can run medical equipment and keep the air conditioning on, or the heat, for that matter,” said Wasserman Schultz.

Police surround the Rehabilitation Center at Hollywood Hills, which had no air conditioning after Hurricane Irma knocked out power, on Sept. 13, 2017 in Hollywood, Fla. (John McCall, South Florida Sun-Sentinel/TNS)

The death toll has risen to 11 at a nursing home that lost air-conditioning in Hollywood, Florida, a city that Wasserman Schultz represents most of. Because of this, Wasserman Schultz told Yahoo Finance that she’s planning to introduce legislation, “that will not only require those backup generators, but provide a carrot-and-a-stick approach. We should deny them federal funding if they are unable to take care of their residents in a crisis.”

In Florida, nursing-home officials are working to carry out a demand from Florida Governor Rick Scott that by November 15, all assisted-living facilities and nursing homes must have the appropriate amount of fuel and power to sustain operations for at least four days after a power outage. If the facilities don’t comply, they will be subject to fines of up to $1,000 per day.