Before Covid-19 hit Central Florida, Michael Smith scraped together a living running his own small business. He doesn’t have health insurance but has medical needs, including asthma he manages on his own: every month, he scrapes together enough cash to buy inhalers on the black market.
If Florida expanded Medicaid, Michael would get the healthcare and prescription drugs he needs to stay healthy.
Florida is one of just 12 states that haven’t expanded Medicaid, depriving residents of needed healthcare and turning away billions in federal funding. The COVID pandemic has increased the size of Florida’s Medicaid expansion-eligible population to over 1.5 million residents.
For now, Michael is fighting to keep a roof over his head. He owes $2,500 in back rent and his landlord has given him an eviction notice.
“I hope the government rent help goes through so I can still have a home to live in,” Michael says. “I was given a list of homeless shelters to choose from but I hope it doesn’t come to that.”
Michael has done everything he can to get and stay sober and become economically self-sufficient. He doesn’t want to let the COVID-19 health pandemic set him back, but like so many other Florida residents, he is in critical need of assistance.