From Florida CHAIN and Damien Filer:
Floridians in coverage gap to ask legislators: “Do I have to be a tourist to get health care?”
Health care advocates to call attention to Medical Tourism bill moving but not health care expansion:
On Wednesday, April 30, Floridians who have fallen into the health care “coverage gap” will be joined by advocates to urge legislators to expand access to health care in the final week of the legislative session. They will call attention to the legislature’s support for a Medical Tourism bill, which seeks to get more patients visiting local health care providers, even though the patients being targeted will be out-of-state “medical tourists” rather than the 1.1 million uninsured Floridians already in need of care right here at home.
“We need access to health care, quality jobs and economic stability here in Florida. Expanding access to health care for more than a million Floridians in need would do all three,” said Leah Barber-Heinz, CEO of Florida CHAIN. “If lawmakers want to make medical services available to tourists from out-of-state, they should also make basic health care coverage available to Floridians who need it here at home.”
Who: Health care advocates who are part of the Health Care for Florida Now coalition as well as Floridians caught in the “coverage gap”:
- Denise Wade, 46, of Clermont is a breast cancer survivor and widow who now lives with her parents. She had to liquidate all of her assets to get care for her late husband. Denise is uninsured and has been diagnosed with several ailments.
- Reed Mahoney, 55, of Havana has physical condition that severely limits his ability to work. Reed does not qualify for current Medicaid coverage and is unable to afford other insurance.
- David Sanford, 50, of Clermont suffers intense pain from an accident. The limits of his physical condition prevent him from doing some jobs but he keeps looking for work and a way to get back on his feet. He is uninsured and is unable to get the care he needs.
- Victoria Stout, 57, is employed in the service industry and has been uninsured for a number of years because her jobs didn't offer insurance and she now feels "marginally employed" because of the intense physical demands of her service job.
What: Media availability – opportunity to speak with “coverage gap” consumers and health care advocates.
When: April 30, 2014, 10:30-11:30AM.
Where: 4th floor rotunda, State Capitol
Why: To highlight the legislature’s simultaneous refusal to accept funds for health care expansion and support for the Medical Tourism bill.
Florida CHAIN is a statewide consumer health advocacy organization dedicated to improving the health of all Floridians by promoting access to affordable, quality health care.