Still No Medicaid Expansion In Florida
The Florida legislative session ends today without a clear resolution for Medicaid expansion. In response to the silence from those representing us, healthcare activists stood together this morning in order to bring their voices as one and ask Governor Rick Scott and our legislators to find a solution for those Floridians in urgent need of healthcare coverage.
We often forget the faces, don’t we? We hear about causes and hear about situations that shouldn’t be happening but numbers are just numbers and it's not until you are standing in front of a woman like Mary Johnson, uninsured and in desperate need of care, that we are reminded that behind those numbers is the face of a mother, father, sister, brother, friend that is in need.
In search of stories to put a name to a number, we have come across a great deal of people afraid to speak out. Afraid that speaking will change nothing or just afraid of being stereotyped for needing assistance. Mary's quiet voice rang out today as she told us about herself, about not having coverage, recently losing her job and being displaced.
"People are suffering in silence.", she said. Mary showed a picture of herself at age 20. Back then, suffering from Post-Partum Depression, she had the coverage to seek assistance. "If I wouldn't have been insured then, I wouldn't be here today." Food for thought as we think of the young adults today that don't have that luxury.
At the press conference we heard from Anna Eskamani, Director of External Affairs for Planned Parenthood of Greater Orlando. Of 21,000 patients that they surveyed, 60% of those patients fell in the Medicaid gap. As she shared those numbers with us she also spoke about the big challenge of "knowing that many people that we spoke to would not qualify for coverage. They were so excited to have this coverage and once they applied they learned that they did not have any type of tax credit waiting for them. Instead, they had fallen in the gap and had nowhere to go. We are talking about numbers but these are people. There are moments left to make the coverage of healthcare possible here in Florida for 1.2 million Floridians."
Kim Scott, a registered nurse shared with us how she sees people that could've been in a better situation had they had insurance.
"I have seen to frequently what happens when patients have no medical care…I have seen…a 20-year old that ends up on life support because they didn't have a doctor to write them a simple prescription for antibiotics."
Florida has the second largest population of uninsured people in the US. The legislative body has not budged on accepting federal funding for Medicaid expansion. Healthcare activists are now doing their best to ensure that Florida remembers this in November as they show up to the polls.