• Rosalaine

    Age 60

    North Miami, FL

     

    As someone who lost the use of her legs, Alene, an independent retiree, relies on Medicaid home health aides. But the Covid-19 crisis has taken its toll on the availability of home health aides, and she has been forced to spend many days--especially weekend days--alone.

  • If Florida expanded Medicaid, Miami resident Rosalaine Brooks, 60, would have access to affordable healthcare.
     
    “I would feel good not having to worry about paying hospital bills I can’t afford,” she says.
     
    Rosalaine lost her Medicaid health insurance a few years ago when her youngest child turned 18.  Florida keeps almost 1 million Florida residents, like Rosalaine,  from accessing affordable health care because the state has refused to expand Medicaid. Florida is one of 12 states that does not provide coverage for low-income uninsured adults.  Instead, Florida limits the safety net program (which is mostly paid for by the federal government) to pregnant women, the disabled and extremely low-income parents of minor children.

    "I would feel good not having to worry about paying hospital bills I can’t afford.”

  • For now, Rosalaine gets medications for high blood pressure and arthritis at a nearby public health clinic. The doctor’s visits are free but she still has to pay for diagnostic tests and medicines. If she needed hospitalizations or specialists, she would have to depend on publicly funded hospitals, like Jackson Health Systems, which are overwhelmed and under budgeted taking care of uninsured patients.
     
    Incurring medical debt keeps uninsured away from life-saving emergency room visits. Rosalaine  still owes thousands from a previous emergency room visit and is praying she’ll never need to go again.
     
    “Thank God I haven’t needed to go to the ER since,” she says. “When you look at the hospital bill, you don’t feel good at all. If I had health insurance, I would feel good knowing my bill would be covered. I wouldn’t worry about getting the care I needed to be healthy.”

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