Healthcare in in Danger The Plight of Florida's Children Post-Medicaid

Healthcare in Danger: The Plight of Florida’s Children Post-Medicaid

According to the Florida Policy Institute, hundreds of thousands of Floridians have lost Medicaid since April 1, 2023, as a result of the repeal of a federal pandemic exemption that allowed people to continue receiving coverage during the outbreak. Erin Booth says she hasn’t been able to answer one essential question since her son Landon was five years old and diagnosed with leukemia.

“He questions why he got cancer, and it’s hard to explain to a child why this happened to you because you don’t know why, and they want an answer,” Booth said.

Three years later, Landon’s cancer is deemed to be in remission. However, Booth claims that the cancer and the intensive treatment for it caused damage to his spine and brain, necessitating expensive therapy, which she estimates costs $1500 per hour.

“I’m just really worried because Landon requires a lot of rehabilitation, he has a lot of health issues from chemotherapy, so it just worries me the most because it affects his quality of life,” Booth said.

Booth is concerned because, on March 31, Easter Sunday, the state removed Landon from Medicaid coverage. According to Booth, the state claims Landon received Medicaid coverage only in 2021 due to the epidemic. But she claims that wasn’t what she was informed back then. She assumed it was just because he had cancer and needed considerable medical care for it.

According to Booth, Landon is now enrolled in Florida KidCare, a state-subsidized insurance program for children.

However, there are already difficulties. She claims to have paid the KidCare fee for April, but she has received notice that her account is past due. Booth claims she will now have to spend hundreds of dollars each month in premiums and copays, and she is unsure whether all of Landon’s care will be covered.

“I’m concerned because it’s all so expensive. I’m not sure what’s going to happen; will I lose it, or will they not cover it?” remarked Booth.

Booth claims that this has all taken a toll on her family. When she is not working late-night hours to pay the bills, she says she is always striving to ensure Landon receives the care he requires. And now she’s unsure whether it will still be affordable.

“I’m exhausted, I am exhausted,” Booth replied. “I’m exhausted from having to advocate for something so simple, not just medically, but also for education and mental health.” I’ve even prioritized Landon’s mental health over my own.

The United States Department of Health and Human Services has voiced dissatisfaction with the state’s management of Medicaid services. HHS is working on a plan to keep children covered, but it may not be in force for a year.

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