Florida should expand Medicaid program
06/23/2014 6:43 PM
06/23/2014 6:44 PM
On June 10, Cedernier, a 59-year-old native of Haiti, was pronounced dead. His diagnosis? Cancer of the colon. For weeks, Cedernier complained to friends and family of abdominal pain and constipation.
He reluctantly went to the emergency department, where he was told of his condition.
Two weeks later, he was dead.
Cedernier’s story is similar to thousands of Florida’s working poor who make too much money to qualify for Medicaid and make too little to afford traditional insurance.
Last year, Florida opted out of Medicaid expansion, which left about 1 million Floridians without any option for healthcare besides emergency rooms.
The Affordable Care Act seeks expanded access to health insurance for uninsured Americans. The law’s architects envisioned an expansion of Medicaid in each state to cover low-income adults up to 138 percent of the federal poverty level, which in 2013 was $15,856 for an individual or $26,951 for a family of three in 2013.
The Supreme Court upheld the law as constitutional, but mandatory Medicaid expansion was struck down, leaving it to state legislatures to decide to offer the joint program.
So far, 23 states have refused to expand Medicaid.
That includes Texas and Florida, which rejected $51 billion from the federal government to overhaul its Medicaid program to include people who work, but do not make enough money to qualify for the Affordable Care Act’s subsidies.
As election season approaches, it’s important that we keep Cedernier at the forefront of our minds.
We should demand that the Florida Legislature make decisions not based on simple political ideologies, but rather in the best interest of all constituents.
Florida must opt in to Medicaid expansion.
Manoucheka Thermitus, associate administrator/director of business development, Tenet Healthcare North Shore Medical Center, Miami
Oops, you haven't selected any newsletters. Please check the box next to one or more of our email newsletters and submit again.
Oops, you didn't provide a valid email address. Please double-check the email field and submit again.
Join the Discussion
Miami Herald is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere on the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.