The overall U.S. unemployment rate has steadily declined since the recession officially ended in June 2009. But many Americans still are finding it hard to get by, even if they do have jobs. A key indicator of economic hardship—enrollment in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), commonly known as food stamps—is higher in every state than it was five years ago, even though unemployment has dropped in every state during the same period.
Thirty-five percent of Hendry County’s 33,000 residents under 65 lack health insurance, but nearly a month after the health law’s expansion of coverage began, local health officials say little has changed for most uninsured residents.
The Florida Legislature still has the opportunity this year to draw down $51 billion in federal dollars already sent to Washington to help pay the cost of health insurance for those who cannot afford it, argues Floridfa Hospital Flagler CEO Ken Mattison.
Thousands of previously uninsured Floridians woke up Wednesday morning with peace of mind for the first time in years. More than half of Florida’s nearly 4 million uninsured are projected to qualify for coverage through the Marketplace. Another million would qualify if the Florida Legislature would permit it.
Going without insurance “is like gambling,” says a 43-year-old social worker. But the high deductibles of Affordable Care Act plans make them a hard sell, as the plans sold on the exchange are not as generous as employer-sponsored insurance.
The Supreme Court allowed states to opt out of the Medicaid expansion under Obamacare, as Florida did, but the law didn’t include subsidies for people in those states who earn less than the federal poverty level to buy coverage through the exchanges. They were supposed to be covered under Medicaid. And Medicaid is not there for them.
Consumer groups, hospitals and insurers are clamoring for Florida to take the $51 billion in federal funds that have been offered to the state over the next decade to provide health coverage to the working poor. But those who are tuned in politically — even those who desperately want it to happen — say it’s very unlikely in 2014.
Florida’s food hardship rate is more than 21 percent, meaning that one in five Florida households reported that in the past year they struggled to buy enough food for the family. The state is one of the hardest-hit for food security.
Gathered in a community where the city and county have approved workplace policies banning domestic and sexual violence, experts said Thursday that all employers should be aware that workplace violence affects not only victims but business profits.
More than 200,000 Florida drivers have had their licenses suspended for failure to pay legal fees as of the start of 2013–fees that are unrelated to penalties associated with their sentence. The suspensions disproportionately affect poor people, who, without a car, have even fewer means to hold a job and make good on payments.