For two years, Florida legislators have refused to expand Medicaid as envisioned under the Affordable Care Act. Their decision left an estimated 850,000 Floridians without healthcare insurance in the "coverage gap." Here are some of their stories.
It took two minutes for Francesca Corr to find out she falls into the coverage gap.
In February, the 38-year-old immigration paralegal tried to sign up for a subsidized health plan under the Affordable Care Act with the help of an enrollment counselor at Community Health of South Florida’s Doris Ison Health Center in Cutler Bay.
The counselor told Corr that she doesn’t qualify for government help because the South Miami single mother of five, who claims four dependent children, earns $24,000 year — too much for Medicaid in Florida and $4,000 short of the annual income she needs to qualify for financial aid to buy a plan under Obamacare.
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“I came here thinking, ‘Great, I’m so glad that I’m going to get insurance’,” Corr said, “because I didn’t qualify for Medicaid, so that means I’m going to qualify for something.”
Disappointed, Corr said she will have to go without coverage. She hasn’t had a serious medical issue, but she knows her health is crucial to the welfare of her children.
“The day I’m not here,’’ she said, “they don’t have anyone.”
Aware that Obamacare was supposed to make health insurance more accessible for millions of Americans, she struggles to square the legislative logic that has left her in the coverage gap.
“You’re creating a plan where you’re supposed to help people,’’ she said, “but you’re ... letting people fall through the cracks.
“I feel cheated.”
- CHABELI HERRERA
Falling into the coverage gap | Back to series homepage
▪ “I feel left over, left back.’’ — Paula Bazain, caregiver
▪ “What kind of country are we? Everybody needs insurance” — Francesca Corr, single mother
▪ “I can’t live a normal life.’’ — Genesis Rodriguez, automotive tech student
▪ “Normally, you go to the doctor when something like that happens.’’ — Carlos Cuervo, salesman
▪ “One minute you receive Medicaid, and the next minute it’s gone.’’ — Ceslynn Watkins, former customer service rep
▪ “I knew exactly right away what it was because I’d felt it before. I was having a heart attack.’’ — Eric Schmidt, former construction worker
▪ “It wasn’t the welcome that I wanted from Florida.’’ — Harry Melo, student
▪ “They just tell me I’ve been denied. Every time.” —Timothy Lane, former landscaper
▪ “I wish I had insurance, so I can go to a private doctor.’’ — Cynthia Louis, waiting a year to see a specialist
▪ “It’s totally unfair that when you’re in need of help, you can’t get it.’’ — Vanessa Wilcox, former phlebotomist
▪ “They won’t give me a chance. That’s not right. ... I can go blind.” — Edith G. Camacho, homemaker
▪ “I would benefit more from Medicaid expansion than charity care.’’ — Vincent Adderly, former security guard