Best Of 2014

Best Way to Prove Locally That Medicaid Expansion Was Actually Important

Best Way to Prove Locally That Medicaid Expansion Was Actually Important

The nationally recognized death of Orlando resident Charlene Dill

Prior to the passing of local resident and 32-year-old mother of three Charlene Dill, most discussions of the Florida Legislature’s refusal to accept $51 billion in federal funds to expand the state’s Medicaid program lived in the realm of the political and the abstract. Florida, like many other Republican states, was fighting tooth-and-nail against the perceived horrors of Obamacare and all of its facets, mostly along Tea Party-drawn lines. But when Dill, who was working odd jobs just to get by, fell to a stranger’s floor in March and died while selling vacuum cleaners in Kissimmee, the frustration of nearly a million of the state’s working poor suddenly had a face. Dill was bumped off Medicaid, which landed her in the coverage gap – too poor to qualify for the exchanges, too financially stable to qualify for Medicaid. She was medicated for a heart condition, and if covered would have survived. Instead, thanks to national interest in a story first covered by Orlando Weekly, Dill’s legacy survives, hopefully giving human voice to an issue that has human consequences.