FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 30, 2014
Contact: Alina Labrada / 561-472-9956 / [email protected]
Coverage gap consumers and advocates rally for health care expansion at Rep. Fresen’s office
Advocates wore Hawaiian shirts to draw attention to legislators’ support for a Medical Tourism bill but not health care expansion
MIAMI – Today, local citizens who have fallen into Florida’s coverage gap were joined by health care advocates for a rally outside Rep. Erik Fresen’s office. Advocates urged Florida legislators to expand access to health care in the final week of the legislative session. They called attention to the legislature’s support for a Medical Tourism bill, which seeks to attract out-of-state “medical tourists” to Florida’s health care providers, rather than expanding access to the 1.1 million uninsured Floridians already in need of care. Similar events took place across the state, including at the State Capitol.
“Politicians like Erik Fresen are refusing to expand access to health care for more than a million Floridians in need of coverage. And yet, the legislature is poised to put millions into a marketing campaign to promote the state’s health care industry to medical tourists from around the world,” said Laura Goodhue, Executive Director, Florida Alliance of Planned Parenthood, Inc. “We’re here today to let Rep. Fresen and leaders in the legislature know that hardworking people right here at home deserve access to health care too.”
Florida stands to lose a staggering $51.5 billion in federal funding over the next 10 years by rejecting expansion. Advocates posed the question: If the rationale behind the Medical Tourism bill is economic gain for Florida’s health care industry, how can the legislature justify not expanding access to health care, which could cost Florida businesses an estimated $253 million per year in tax penalties?
Several Floridians – including Harold Pendas– attended the rally to share their stories of falling into the Florida coverage gap. They expressed their frustration with the legislature.
“The focus during this legislative session should have been on expanding access to health care,” said Goodhue. “Floridians want politicians to focus on more important issues, like health care, quality jobs, and getting the state’s economy back on track. Expanding access to health care would address all three.”
A broad array of concerned citizens, coverage gap consumers and health care advocates participated. Organizations represented included: Planned Parenthood, Florida CHAIN, 1Miami, Catalyst, The National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health, South Florida Voices for Working Families, SIEU, Florida New Majority and other groups who are part of the Health Care for Florida Now coalition.
Planned Parenthood of South Florida and the Treasure Coast, Inc. was founded in 1971.Our mission is to provide comprehensive sexual health care through the provision of clinical services, education and advocacy.
Our 9 health centers in South Florida are dedicated to providing services that are affordable, accessible and available to all women, men and youth in the community, regardless of the individual’s income, race, marital status, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity or residence. Our goal is to create the healthiest generation ever.
April 30, 2014
June 03, 2014