Tale of Two Medicaids

By: Whitney Ray Email
By: Whitney Ray Email

By: Whitney Ray

Tallahassee, Fla. -- Pressure for state lawmakers to accept federal money to expand Medicaid is mounting. Young adults who are too old for Medicaid and too poor to buy their own coverage are in Tallahassee asking for help.

It’s a tale of two Medicaids. Donya Marshall’s daughter Chloe has DiGeorge Syndrome. She and her husband both work. Both have insurance, but they still can’t pay Chloe’s medical bills. So Medicaid does.

“Without Medicaid in our lives we would not have been able to take her to so many appointments so many times a week,” said Donya.

Then there’s Geosel Robles. Geo has Muscular Dystrophy. He works. He goes to college. He recently celebrated a bitter birthday.

“On his 18th birthday he got a birthday cake, but he lost his insurance,” said Dr. Britt Stroud with Golisano Children’s Hospital.

Until last year Medicaid paid for Geo’s treatment. Now, without health insurance he can’t afford to visit the doctor.

Geo: You’re feeling bad because you don’t know what’s going on.
Reporter: So you live with that uncertainty every day?
Geo: Everyday man, but I’m not going to let it keep me down. I have goals.

Tuesday at the state capitol doctors told stories about young adults caught in the gap. They’re covered by Medicaid until they’re 18, then they’re on their own.

“When we transition the children in to adult services we have a similar situations like Geosel has explained to you,” said Dr. Daniel Plasencia.

The doctors and patients form the Florida Remedy Coalition. They’re asking state lawmakers to expand Medicaid and close the coverage gap. And with just a few weeks left in session the pressure’s mounting on lawmakers to accept the cash. The Senate has devises a plan to take the money. Now all eyes are on the House.

Geo hopes the House comes through but he’s pushing forward regardless. While MD tears down his body, Geo’s focused on sharpening his mind. He wants to be a lawyer.

The Senate plan would allow private insurers to take the Medicaid money to extent coverage. Florida’s House Speaker now says he’s open to alternative plans but still worries about what will happen when the federal money runs dry.

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