There is a health coverage gap that leaves a percentage of the U.S.population without adequate health insurance. These individuals fall into an income bracket that does not earn enough to enter the market place subsidies, and also earn too much to qualify for Medicaid. The state of Florida currently has the fourth highest rate of uninsured individuals in the country. This includes approximately 717,000 residents currently living in the Central Florida metropolitan area (Brevard, Lake, Orange, Osceola, Polk, Seminole and Volusia County), 20% of which are Hispanic.
Recognizing that the issue not only impacts the community at a personal level, but extends into the economic impact of the region, the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Metro Orlando (HCCMO) has proposed a Healthcare Coverage Gap Resolution, which was unveiled during a recent press conference at the National Entrepreneur Center.
The Resolution requests that members of the Central Florida Delegations of the Florida State Senate and House of Representatives ensure that its citizens have access to appropriate health care services in the most cost-effective settings. The Resolution states that appropriate health care access will improve the quality of life for families, while simultaneously reducing costs to the health care system.
HCCMO President, Diana Bolivar stated that “closing Florida’s healthcare coverage gap, can positively contribute to the state’s overall economic future, while improving the health and the financial security of Hispanics who play a vital role as consumers, workers, and business owners in our community.” Maritza Martinez, Assistant VP for UCF Community Relations and the Chair of the HCCMO Government Affairs Committee expressed that “should the State of Florida take advantage of the $50 billion in federal matching funds, this will close the healthcare coverage gap and provide a significant boost to the economy and local taxpayer relief.”
The HCCMO is taking a firm position on the issue, exclaiming that the current lack of insurance and access to preventive care increases certain health conditions for Hispanics in Florida. Such health conditions include diabetes, kidney disease, and HIV/AIDS. Closing Florida’s healthcare coverage gap has the potential to create an economic gain for both Florida and the US, with estimates of $50 billion in economic activity during the first ten years, and creating an estimated 121,000 additional jobs in Florida including over 23,000 in the seven county Central Florida region.
The Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Metro Orlando is a not-for-profit organization founded in 1993 with the mission to provide leadership and support the economic development of the Hispanic business community of Metro Orlando. For more information on the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, please visit http://www.hccmo.org