Uninsured Floridians Grow Efforts to Expand Health Coverage

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Monday, April 15, 2013

Uninsured Floridians Grow Efforts to Expand Health Coverage

Consumers Union and Florida CHAIN Put a Face on Florida Health Coverage Expansion

Tallahassee, FL – As the Florida legislature continues to debate expanding health coverage to low income Floridians, Consumers Union, the policy arm ofConsumer Reports, and Florida CHAIN are releasing stories and videos featuring uninsured Floridians who would qualify for insurance under a new coverage program. The videos come in advance of a Monday Committee hearing that will feature testimony from Florida consumers who would be impacted.

“Many people, including members of the legislature, are under the impression that the people who would gain coverage are unemployed, lazy and not interested in working hard to better their families. That’s simply not the case,” said Blake Hutson, organizer for Consumers Union’s health reform efforts. “These videos show the true faces of expanding coverage – hardworking Floridians who don’t have access to affordable care through their jobs. These folks deserve the same health care choices that expanded coverage would provide people in states across the country.”

The stories feature Floridians who don’t have access to insurance through their jobs, cannot afford insurance, and are forced to pay out of pocket for care they ultimately may not be able to afford. They include:

Michael, Punta Gorda: Michael is a single father of three girls, two of whom are under the age of 18. His children have access to Medicaid, but Michael is not eligible.  He works full-time as a cashier at a convenience store, and although it is not his ideal job, Michael states that it is better than having no income at all. Through Medicaid expansion, he would be able to afford preventative care services.

Watch Michael’s story here

Laura, Coral Springs: After the recession dramatically reduced demand for her home décor business, Laura became a self-employed driver who transports injured workers to and from their doctor and therapy appointments. Though she spends all day driving to and from medical appointments, Laura cannot afford health insurance for herself. She hasn’t seen a doctor in 7 years.

Watch Laura’s story here.

Debra, Boca Raton: Debra is 57 years old and currently works for two families providing housekeeping services. She and her husband have both battled unemployment and underemployment in the past few years. Debra’s husband is a cancer survivor and needs medical care for chronic migraines. Doctors recently found spots on her husband that they have sent in for biopsy – his melanoma may have returned.

An estimated one million uninsured Floridians could be expected to enroll in coverage by 2020 under Medicaid expansion or an alternative solution to expand coverage. Through health reform, states will get 100 percent of the cost of expansion covered for the first three years, and never pay more than 10 percent of the total cost of expanding health coverage. Florida Governor Rick Scott has announced his support of expansion but resistance remains in the legislature.

Consumers Union and Florida CHAIN can connect reporters with Floridians who would gain access to health insurance with Medicaid expansion, including consumers at the Capitol on Monday, April 15. For more information, please contact Kara Kelber or Leah Barber-Heinz.

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About Consumers Union

Founded in 1936, the nonprofit Consumer Reports has over 8 million subscribers to its magazine, website, and other publications.  Its advocacy division, Consumers Union, works for health reform, food and product safety, financial reform, and other consumer issues in Washington, D.C., the states, and in the marketplace. Learn more at: www.ConsumersUnion.org

About Florida CHAIN

Florida CHAIN is a statewide advocacy organization dedicated to improving the health of all Floridians by promoting access to quality, affordable health care. CHAIN stands for Community Health Action Information. www.FloridaCHAIN.org

 

Media Contacts: Kara Kelber, kkelber@consumer.org202-462-6262, or Leah Barber-Heinz, leahb@floridachain.org850-294-6087