MIAMI, FL –– Federal public health officials have confirmed 16 Floridians have been infected with the Zika virus, likely contracted through mosquito bites. In response, Governor Rick Scott last week called on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to assist state health officials to help control the spread. Governor Scott also echoed CDC warnings to women who are pregnant or thinking of becoming pregnant to avoid affected areas such as North Miami-Dade County and, “contact your OB/GYN for guidance and to receive a Zika prevention kit.”
Unfortunately, Governor Scott and the Florida Legislature have repeatedly rejected expansion of the state Medicaid program, which would provide access to quality, affordable health coverage for nearly 600,000 Floridians. As a result, when faced with a health crisis, more than $50 billion in Florida taxpayer dollars have been left on the table, and too many of our state’s residents rely on expensive emergency room care.
Statement by Mark Pafford, CEO of Florida CHAIN:
“Governor Scott’s call for women who are thinking of becoming pregnant to seek medical attention from their OB/GYN indicates an administration that is disconnected from the reality that more than 283,000 Florida women are stuck in the Medicaid coverage gap. These women make too little to receive tax credits for health coverage through the ACA marketplace, but are ineligible for Medicaid. Their OB/GYN probably doesn’t exist.
“While Governor Scott’s efforts to raise awareness of the Zika virus are critical to public health, his lack of leadership and compassion on health care expansion leave the very women he is encouraging to seek care without any avenue to do so. Florida’s women deserve better.”