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Sili Recio's picture

What won’t we do for our children?

Rocio is a mother of two. She is originally from Mexico and has lived in the U.S. with a green card for almost five years. Her husband is a migrant worker in LakeCounty and Rocio and her children recently moved to Florida to be reunited with him. Although Rocio wanted to stay in Mexico in the first place, she chose to support her son’s dream to learn English and her family’s desire to be together.

After five years of being in the U.S. as a legal resident, Rocio will finally be able to get health coverage for her children.

Why? Because Florida’s leaders have decided legal residents must wait five full years before being eligible for Medicaid or KidCare (Florida’s CHIP plan). This leaves Florida far behind the curve on equitable access to children’s health coverage. Children who are uninsured miss more school while healthy kids do better in school and come to school ready to learn. Twenty-six other states, including Texas and North Carolina, have already eliminated this unwise waiting period for legally residing immigrant children. Florida's children cannot wait!

Since Rocio’s children had no health coverage, something as simple as getting a medical exam for school entrance was an ordeal for Rocio and her son. A visit to an urgent care facility was the only way for her to get documentation of health for school registration. A medical form is simple, the other scenarios of having no access to coverage could be far more dire. The underlying stress of never knowing when your child will fall ill is one common to all families, but is especially hard on the families affected by this waiting period. Living with the knowledge that, when your children do get sick, you will have no access to medical care is terrifying.

In Mexico, Rocio had health insurance. “It’s a basic need,” she explained, clearly frustrated with the trivial five-year waiting period placed on her children to gain access to KidCare, Florida’s health insurance program for low income children.

Rocio’s family is close to the end of their waiting period. And even though she is obviously shy about speaking out about her family’s situation, she is firm in her desire to help others experiencing the same struggle. “If my story can help another family, I need to tell it,” she said. Her daughter, 16, summed up the waiting period succinctly, “Imagine what can happen in 5 years.”

Right now, lawmakers are considering whether or not to abolish this five year waiting period. We must speak out, and join our voices with Rocio’s voice, in order to help those affected by this law.

Tell your legislators not to make kids wait for health coverage. Sign our petition now:

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