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As Lawmakers Are Sworn In, Health Advocates Rally To Say: Close The Coverage Gap


November 14, 2014

Contacts: Sarah Lovenheim:
Athena Ford Smith:

(ORLANDO) – Local and national leaders, health care advocates, and people stuck in the Florida Coverage Gap will gather at Park Lake Presbyterian Church on November 18th to call on lawmakers to close the Florida Coverage Gap. They’ll be joined by a powerful visual: dozens of photographs (similar to the one attached) will hang in the background on the same day lawmakers in Tallahassee have their first official duties of the new session. A policy brief highlighting new Census data showcasing the rate of young Floridians who fall into the coverage gap by demographic and location will be provided at the event.

WHAT: Press conference featuring Lives on the Line, over 60 photographs of people stuck in the Florida Coverage Gap, plus new policy brief with Millennial-specific Census data.

WHEN: 12:00 NOON on Tuesday, November 18th, the same day lawmakers in Tallahassee hold their organizing session

WHERE: Park Lake Presbyterian Church, 309 East Colonial Drive, Orlando

WHO: Orlando residents stuck in the Florida coverage gap are expected to share their story, Anna Eskamani, Director of External Affairs, Planned Parenthood of Greater Orlando; Cristina Rivera, Young Invincibles; Josephine Mercado, Executive Director, Hispanic Health Initiatives; Athena Smith Ford, Advocacy Director, Florida CHAIN

The Florida Coverage Gap was created by the failure of Florida lawmakers to accept more than $50 billion made available to our state by the Affordable Care Act so that Floridians making around the poverty line or less could get access to health care coverage.

The photographs are part of a traveling project called Lives on the Line that captures the real people stuck in the Florida Coverage Gap. They’ve been collected from clinics and town centers across the state and will be displayed in multiple cities before eventually making their way to the Capitol. This Orlando press conference will be the first time these photos are displayed together.

Drawing on new Census data, the policy brief — to be released by Florida CHAIN and Young Invincibles — will highlight who would benefit from Florida closing its coverage gap by demographic and location, and provide context on Florida’s legislative debate as it impacts young adults.

Leaving nearly a million Floridians uninsured is hurting Florida’s economy. Our state’s own
Revenue Estimating Conference concluded that even though Florida would eventually kick in a small share of the costs of coverage, taking this deal would be an enormous fiscal win for our state. In fact, the decision to leave these people uninsured is costing Florida nearly a half billion dollars a year.

The press conference is sponsored by Health Care for Florida Now, a coalition of nearly 100 organizations across the state dedicated to ensuring Florida takes advantage of this unprecedented opportunity.