Florida House’s Medicaid Expansion Rejection Affects First Coast Uninsured

Jun 8, 2015

The Florida House argued Medicaid expansion would be too costly for the state.
Credit Michael Rivera / Wikimedia Commons

Underinsured Floridians are concerned about health care coverage after the Florida House voted down Medicaid expansion for the state.

The House argued expansion would be too costly for the state.

The Florida Coastal School of Law’s Disability and Public Benefits Clinic serves uninsured and underinsured individuals in Jacksonville.

During an appearance on WJCT's “First Coast Connect,” Sarah Sullivan, the director of the clinic, says without Medicaid expansion uninsured individuals will have to continue without coverage, and they will be forced to visit the emergency room often.

“For private hospitals that means there’s going to be a rise in costs,” Sullivan said. “That’s going to mean a rise in premiums for those that are insured. So it’s going to cost one way or another.”

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, almost five million Floridians are uninsured. That’s 28 percent of the state’s population.

Jenny Rose, a student at the Florida Coastal School of Law, also appeared on the show. Rose is a mother of four.

Her family can’t afford insurance under the Affordable Care Act, commonly referred to as “Obamacare,” and they don’t qualify for Medicaid.

Rose’s husband suffers from congestive heart failure, and she says his medical bills are expensive.

Sullivan says without Medicaid expansion, the cost to treat uninsured patients will be higher because they won’t get help when they need it.

Rose said, “It’s about the people and what the people need, and if you do not cover the people, they’re going to get sicker.”

Listen to the full conversation with Sarah Sullivan and Jenny Rose on Monday’s episode of the “First Coast Connect” podcast on iTunes or Stitcher.

Photo credit: "Florida State Capitol and Florida House Office" by Michael Rivera is used under CC BY-SA 3.0.