Given Florida’s large vulnerable populations, the tremendous number of uninsured, the failure to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act, the low Medicaid spending for current Medicaid enrollees (47th in the nation), and recent harmful cuts to the state’s Medicaid program, it’s not surprising that vulnerable Floridians experience barriers in accessing care.
The STORIES Project works with Floridians willing to share their voices through our work with the media, our briefs and blogs and in social media campaigns. These STORIES highlight the state’s major health justice/injustice issues:
Until the state expands Medicaid coverage, the public, the media and policymakers must continue to hear from Floridians who are suffering physically and financially because they lack health coverage.
Access to Care for Seniors
Despite Florida’s huge number of frail and disabled elderly, there are tremendous barriers to coverage and services for this extremely vulnerable population. Our state leaders and the public need to see the faces and hear the voices of Florida’s seniors and families hurt by the state’s repeal of retroactive Medicaid, and the long waitlist for home and community-based services (HCBS) needed to avoid institutionalization. Even after Florida was sued over the waitlist, the Legislature failed to increase the number of individuals who could receive HCBS or provide necessary funding for the local agencies unable to process applicants in a timely fashion.
Long-Term Care Medicaid Program
Subsidized health care benefits are critical for low-income Floridians with disabilities--especially those who are so frail and disabled that they require long-term services and supports to remain in their home. These services, also referred to as home and community-based services (HCBS), are provided through Florida's Medicaid Long-Term Care (LTC) managed care program to eligible individuals.
The federal Administration’s new “public charge” rule took effect on February 24, 2020. This rule changes how wealth, health, workforce skills, and the use of certain public benefits may
affect some immigration applications.
Impacted By COVID-19
COVID-19, the novel coronavirus that has reached pandemic proportions, presents a dire public health emergency. Florida faces this challenge with significant disadvantages. Our state has failed to expand Medicaid, leaving us with the country’s fourth-highest rate of uninsured (13%). At the same time, Florida has one of the highest proportions of residents 60 and older in the nation
(over 25%) and many live at or near poverty.
While public support for Medicaid increased following the 2017 fight over ACA repeal and Medicaid caps, this essential program remains at risk in Florida--particularly in light of the 2021 budget crisis created by the COVID-19 pandemic. Now, more than ever, the public and leaders need to see and hear the stories of individuals and families who rely on Medicaid—from the parents of children with special needs to the families whose loved ones are in a nursing home—to appreciate its significance.
The Florida Health Justice Project, a nonprofit organization, recognizes that access to quality and affordable health care is a human right and engages in comprehensive advocacy to expand health care access and promote health equity for vulnerable Floridians.
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