Did this mom have to die?
The answer is no.
Charlene Dill, a Florida mom of three, died on March 21st while working one of three part-time jobs—and her passing could have been prevented if the Florida Legislature had simply acted in time.
Florida state leaders have chosen not to expand Medicaid health coverage for thousands of Floridians—rejecting 15 million dollars, per day, that would help provide affordable health coverage to people like Charlene.
CREDIT: GOFUNDME VIA THINK PROGRESS
I’m ashamed of the leadership in my home state—or rather their lack of leadership. It’s heartbreaking and infuriating to read Charlene’s story, because this just didn’t need to happen to her and her family.
States that haven’t expanded coverage have created a coverage “donut hole” that wasn’t suppose to exist. The healthcare law was designed with Medicaid Expansion in mind—which means that the newly expanded coverage would have covered working, low-income adults who’d been ineligible for Medicaid in the past and subsidies would take care of those in the next income bracket that still needed support. This means that folks who fall in the coverage gap are now neither eligible for Medicaid or the subsidies. This gap created in several states means millions of Americans are left without health coverage and may even result in the death of thousands.
[If you weren’t eligible for financial assistance on the marketplace, but you think you should have been based on your income, you might have fallen into the coverage gap. If so, email us at email@example.com to learn more about Medicaid expansion in your state and your options.]
Like others in non-Medicaid Expansion states, Charlene fell into the gap—which means she wasn’t eligible for a Medicaid plan or financial assistance on the exchange:
“Dill made about $9,000 annually by babysitting, cleaning houses, and selling vacuum cleaners. As the Orlando Weekly reports, she was optimistic about her coverage options under President Obama’s administration. She tried to sign up for Obamacare using the online calculator on HealthCare.gov, but quickly found out she fell within the coverage gap.” – Think Progress
The heart condition that ultimately left Charlene dead on a stranger’s doorstep was treatable—and with proper health coverage—she would have been able to properly care for her condition and continue to be there for her children.
So why have states like Florida halted the expansion of coverage to low-income, working families in their communities like Charlene?
Governor Rick Scott has flip flopped back and forth on his position on expanding coverage—moving from saying he didn’t support it and then saying he did, but without putting pressure on the Florida Legislature to make the move to expand Medicaid. The Governor and Florida Legislature are literally playing political games with the lives of families—and at least one mom has paid the ultimate price for their indecision and lack of leadership.
Our local leaders took too long expanding coverage to help Charlene, but there is still time to make sure thousands of other Floridians get covered. Tell Florida legislators that it’s time to stop playing games with peoples lives and accept the federal funds to expand coverage access now: http://moms.ly/FLMedicaid
Do you have your own coverage story you want to share? Tell us about it in the comments below or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.