Obamacare’s Medicaid gap in Florida has long been a source of political controversy, but when a 23-year-old young man named Shawn Cole could not afford the cost of health insurance he almost died due to the coverage gap. The only way he could be saved was to move to another state where he was able to receive treatment for the huge growth in his neck.
In a related report by the Inquisitr, the Obamacare laws forced a married couple of 33 years to separate in order for her to keep their health insurance. On the other hand, Richard Mack was capable of purchasing Obamacare insurance, but refused. Now that he’s suffering from health issues, he’s begging the public for money to pay his medical bills.
Shawn Cole is not a beggar, nor did he refuse to purchase Obamacare’s health insurance options. As a single, white man, he simply could not afford any option based upon his financial situation. Until the growth in his neck became unbearable, he had been working as a pre-school teacher, but his income level left him caught in Obamacare’s Medicaid gap.
Based upon the Affordable Care Act, a Medicaid expansion was supposed to be made available to almost all low-income individuals with incomes at or below 138 percent of poverty, which was $16,104.60 in 2014. Unfortunately, 22 states, including Florida, have rejected the Medicaid expansion, which causes a coverage gap where people do not receive either Obamacare subsidies or Medicaid.
According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, Florida happens to be home to about 17 percent of all the people caught in the Obamacare Medicaid gap. As of this publishing, only Wisconsin provides full Medicaid coverage to adults without dependent children as of 2014, and the state also provides for uninsured adults covered in the coverage gap.
Shawn Cole is counted among the working poor since he made about $14,400 per year. He wasn’t capable of buying health insurance, even if it was subsidized, and he lived with his brother in order to keep living costs affordable. Then one day he noticed something was growing in his neck.
“The doctors said it might have been a paraganglioma, but tests proved it was not in that particular class. They eventually told me it was a benign tumor that grows off my nerve veins, and although it protruded from my neck it was growing from on top of my left lung.
“The tumor became sensitive to the touch and putting on shirts became a chore. Then I started developing breathing problems and I also was going deaf in my left ear. In the worst case scenario, doctors said I would either lose my left arm or the tumor would kill me.”
The young man says that even if he was capable of affording the cheapest health insurance premiums he still could not have afforded the co-payments.
“When I was still in Florida, I was working and made too much to be on Medicaid. Buying my own insurance was also too expensive because one visit a month to a normal doctor would be $300. Based upon the plans, every after would have been $150 per visit. I would have spent an entire year’s income just to afford the doctors through health insurance. Since I lived with my brother, Jason, the household income was considered too high for other options.”
In the end, the only option Shawn could come up with to save his life was to move outside of Florida and live in Arizona with low income family members. Within four months, based upon the household income he was able to receive Health Choice health insurance.
“It helped get me all my MRI and CAT scans in addition to all the blood work. The Banner University Medical Center in Tucson did my surgery and even put my family in a motel room for a few days. The doctor I have now is amazing. Instead of losing an arm, now all I have is nerve damage where the tumor used to be and possible nerve damage in the left side of my chest.”
Having survived the experience, Shawn Cole told the Inquisitr he does not blame Obamacare for all his prior woes. The Medicaid gap may have put him close to death, but he also believes that Obamacare’s pre-existing conditions stipulation helped him when he was capable of getting Health Choice. He’s just glad the entire experience is behind him and he’s even considering moving back to Florida.
What do you think should be done to fill in Obamacare’s Medicaid gap?