“The Gap” showing on May 28 in Alachua

“The Gap” is a short documentary describing the difficulties of people unable to obtain health care. Made in Gainesville by Jordanna Goldman and Christopher Cogle, M.D. it is being used by Florida Chain in its statewide campaign to have Florida accept funds for Medicaid expansion. It was shown at the Civic Media Center by the Alachua County Labor Coalition. It will be shown again on May 28 at 6:30 p.m. at the County Library, 14913 NW 140th St, Alachua. It will be followed by a discussion of what action to take.

Probably for no better reason than their resistance to Obamacare, Governor Rick Scott and the Republican-controlled House of Representatives have refused to allow Florida to accept funds from the Federal Government which would cover almost one million people without health insurance. They are largely people who work but don’t earn enough to qualify for Obamacare subsidies or are unemployed and looking for jobs.

This refusal is a cruel denial of health care coverage for the neediest of our residents. Five people a day die in Florida because they are unable to to access medical care. This denial is not only cruel, it is irrational. Income tax revenue from Florida residents goes to other states. Furthermore, funds from Medicaid would lead to an estimated increase of 70,000 jobs in the state.

The Senate, also Republican-controlled, has incorporated the Medicaid funds into its proposed budget, although it is looking at a plan whereby the funds are used to purchase private health insurance. The House terminated its session early, because of the failure of the two branches to agree. Because of the constitutional requirement that a budget is passed by July 1, the legislature is sitting again for a special session starting June 1

The Governor is frantically trying to get funds for hospitals’ uncompensated care. This would mostly cover emergency room care. It would be no help in meeting the serious, but non-emergency medical needs of low-income workers.

It is crucial for everyone to contact their representatives now to urge them to cover the health insurance gap by accepting the federal funds.

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