Sara McFadden’s interview segment with Annisa Karim on the topic of COVID-19. (02m:39s)
Healthcare is a basic human right. Government should work to improve our overall health by assuring access to high-quality, affordable care. Our Governor’s refusal to extend Medicaid has resulted in a loss of 5 billion dollars annually in taxes that would have been returned to our State by the Federal Government. Those taxes, that we had already paid, would have helped those in need and also been a boost to our economy.
Our state’s healthcare priorities are a national embarrassment – opioid addiction is killing our citizens and making orphans of our children – we are 50th in providing mental health care, our jails are our largest mental health facilities. We need to increase funding for mental health in Florida which remains at the bottom of all 50 states, despite the pittance awarded in 2018 in the last session of the State Legislature.
Although there was some improvement in 2016, the rate of uninsured children in Florida still exceeds the national average and regrettably there was a small rise in the 2018 uninsured rate that does not bode well for the future. Thousands of families fall off the Florida Healthy Kids rolls monthly for not paying premiums. There was discussion, with varying use of statistics, to waive premiums for the 2 months following IRMA – it didn’t happen. In addition, 287g/Immigration Control/ICE is felt to be impacting fearful or suspicious immigrant families from signing up or remaining in the program.
Expanding Medicaid in FL, as well as subsidizing KidCare premiums following major hurricanes; reassuring immigrant families as to privacy; and going forward with operational efficiency efforts that stalled in the 2018 Legislature that might have streamlined the many moving parts of Kidcare and enabled easier access and sufficient service for enrolled families – all those ideas would help.
I would also support funding from the state to every local governmental health department to establish outreach programs to low income parents to enroll their children.
The State Legislature has taken the will of the people in regard to medical marijuana and put up every obstacle they can think of to confuse, prevent and deprive those in acute pain of getting proper treatment.
Pregnancy Crisis Centers
My opponent voted to ban the most common and safest legal abortion procedure, putting women’s health at risk. He voted to permanently fund, with 4 million state taxpayer dollars annually, so called Crisis Pregnancy Centers (CPC’s), which mislead women about their health, force them to undergo biased counseling or religious seminars, and provide NO HEALTHCARE. Crisis pregnancy centers violate ethical principles by providing misleading information and causing delays and inequities in access to abortion.
Signs point to the potential that the coronavirus/COVID-19 is spreading faster in Florida than is being reported by our state’s health officials:
- testing is inadequate and limited, many, including healthcare professionals, are told to wait until they become sicker, or call back next week for an appointment
- testing supplies are not being sent to the hardest hit areas
- hospitalizations are not being reported – that’s important because it can take 2-3 weeks before an infection reaches the point of hospital care and that information should be part of the tracking of the infection
Meanwhile our Governor is lagging behind other states and facing criticism that he is not showing any urgency to take a stand; leaving that to individual municipalities and counties where evidence of leadership is being shown. Of note, home rule is proving to be more effective than the constant pre-emption by the state that has been practiced for the last several years.
Florida’s unemployment assistance, already “stingy and unreliable” per the Miami Herald, was flooded with calls and online requests that crashed the website on Saturday.
My advice, while the government plays catch-up, is to practice social distancing as much as much possible to prevent spreading the infection and potentially overwhelming our hospitals.