Uninsured Health Care Workers Press for Medicaid Expansion

by Vanessa Jones on Apr 22 2013 10:59 AM

 Uninsured Health Care Workers Press for Medicaid Expansion
In Florida health care workers cannot afford health insurance. Employees of local nursing homes and other small health establishments cannot afford health cover, as in the case of Marie Milicent. She is working for Hillcrest Health and Rehabilitation Center in Hollywood for the past two decades – her children, ages 10 and 12 earlier had health insurance but due to hikes in prices cannot afford it.
"Most of us dropped our health insurance at Hillcrest," Milicent said. "The deductible is $2,000. It's crazy." She is a certified nursing assistant and feels health insurance is especially important for industry workers, "When you're working with sick people, anything could happen to you," she said. "Now that I don't have health insurance, I don't feel secure."

People like her want Medicaid expansion, "Our members of SEIU Florida, 55,000 current and retired members are very much committed to passing and securing the expansion of Medicaid in the state of Florida," said Monica Russo, president of the SEIU Florida State Council. The national Service Employees International Union represents nurses, lab technicians, nursing home workers, and home care workers.

Susan Gersham of West Palm Beach felt, "The people who are saying no to [Medicaid expansion] have very good health care packages, and we're paying for it," her son cannot afford insurance cover even while working 2 jobs.

According to Professor Steven G Ullman of university of Miami, "The bottom line is when a person is making 30,000, 35,000, and 40,000 a year; there is not a lot of discretionary income that is left, “he said. "And with the premiums of health care going up, and even if people are buying health care insurance right now with high-deductible plans or consumer plans, they might be able to pay the premium but not afford the care because they have a high deductible."

Joe Negron, R-Stuart, posed a compromise where people could choose between a Senate Plan – offering insurance cover to adults or through the Florida healthy Kids Corp. that would offer $ 2000 subsidies to people with income below the poverty line.

Negron’s proposal to tap federal money and offer private cover to low income people is meeting with resistance from House Republican leaders as they don’t want to be reliant on federal funds.


Hannah Punitha (IRDA Licence Number: 2710062)

Maria Mallory White, April 2013