Too Poor For ObamaCare?
GAINESVILLE - When it comes to healthcare, many residents say they're too poor to participate even in obamacare. And some are calling on state lawmakers to close the coverage gap by expanding medicaid.
Pictures of uninsured floridians are hanging all around the civic media center-- it's part of a project called lives on the line, hoping to show the need for healthcare in our community.
"I didn't have any coverage for about 12 years cause I couldn't afford the insurance," said Joanna Pakula of Gainesville. It wasn't until recently that she was able to get insured.
"They make too much money or have too many assets to qualify for medicaid but yet they don't make enough to qualify for the affordable health care," Pakula said.
Athena Smith Ford the Advocacy Director for Florida Chain said, "There are nearly one million Floridians… working moms and dads veterans students and others that are trapped in the healthcare coverage gap."
The state legislature refused to expand medicaid. A move that could cost hospitals billions of dollars in lost funding, according to a report from florida legal services, which advocates for the poor.
"It's a lot more affordable for us as a state to accept the funding and make sure these people are getting access to the care that they need than it is for us to leave them uninsured showing up in the emergency rooms unable to pay the bill,” Ford said.
Dr. Christopher Cogle a physician in Gainesville said, "Everyday in florida, 5 people die because of a lack of health insurance and so as physicians we're saddened by that because we know how to treat hypertension, we know how to treat cancer. I can cure cancer but without health insurance, we can't treat patients."
Some however say medicaid expansion is not the answer. State Representative Keith Perry says he would like to see the federal government give more initiatives in block grants, so that states can take the money and choose how to deliver health care.
"And to take a system like medicaid which is so broken and so wasteful… and doctors don't want them because it doesn't reimburse them, specialists don't want it, patients get terrible inadequate health care. And so we can't take just a system and say to expand a broken system would be a good use of taxpayers money," Perry said.
Another issue talked about was accessibility. This is why the local organization, Rural Women’s Health Project created a guide with information about the marketplace in both English and Spanish.
Julia Hurtado the Assistant Editor for the magazine ‘El Bienestar’ in other words ‘The Well-Being’ said, “This tool just really reassures them that the help is out there, there are navigators and counselors who speak spanish, who will be able to help you and guide you through the process."
These pictures will be displayed in cities all over the state and eventually make it to the capitol.
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