It’s often said that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Yet, this is only true if you have access to the prevention. As a nurse, I know how important it is for people to be able to get medical care – when they need it and even before they need it. To make sure our families, friends, and neighbors get the care they need, it’s time for Florida to expand the Medicaid program.

Before COVID-19, there were almost 400,000 people in Florida’s Medicaid Gap. The Gap is the horrible space between not qualifying for Medicaid because you make too much and not qualifying for help through the Marketplace because you make too little. In Florida, there is no help for adults with no children. I live inside the Gap and it’s a scary place to be. A simple dental cavity easily turns into a bigger problem that lands you in the emergency room. Then doctors tell you to follow up with an oral surgeon. With no money, it’s impossible. This is the situation for many Floridians.

Now with record unemployment and people losing their health insurance, the Gap is going to grow exponentially. Florida is not prepared. We must help people when they are suffering. Medicaid expansion can protect Floridians as the economy slows down and will bring additional federal dollars into the state at a time it is desperately needed. Now is the time for Florida’s lawmakers to put their differences aside and put Floridians first.

Kathleen Edmundson, Largo