Tampa Mom Brings Medicaid’s Importance Home

Medicaid ReformBy Dave Heller, Sunshine State News

Alysia Peddy, a mother from Tampa, is making her voice heard in the debate over Medicaid at the state Capitol.

Peddy considers her family’s medical situation a prime example of why Medicaid is working and should be expanded in Florida.

Her 9-year-old son Pierce requires between 15 and 20 hours of nursing care a day because of a traumatic brain injury.

The family has private insurance. It costs $2,200 a month, but because Pierce’s care is so extensive, and expensive, the private insurance covers only a fraction of the expenses.

Medicaid covers most of Pierce’s medical costs and allows him to remain at home with his family rather than in institutional care.

Alysia brought this message to lawmakers on Wednesday: “I want to let them know that Medicaid is important and it works and it’s keeping our son home with our family, which is where we want him to be. I wouldn’t be able to keep my son at home because he needs 15 to 20 hours a day of nursing care to keep him at home with our family…”

The debate over expanding health coverage to a million uninsured Floridians heats up at the state Capitol.

On Wednesday Democrats also lashed out at Republicans for rejecting President Obama’s Medicaid plan under the Affordable Care Act.

House Democratic Leader Perry Thurston of Fort Lauderdale joined with the faith-based group PICO United Florida to call for an expansion of Medicaid coverage.

Thurston calls it an embarrassment for Florida to pass on $50 billion of federal Medicaid funding over the next 10 years at a cost of about $3 billion for the state.

However, Republicans in the Senate are proposing an alternative plan. The proposal from Sen. Joe Negron, R-Stuart, aims to use the federal cash to help people buy private health insurance. Negron’s “Healthy Florida” plan would subsidize the cost of private insurance for uninsured people.

Thurston didn’t disparage Negron’s plan. In fact, he said he’s encouraged by any effort designed to expand health coverage for low-income Floridians, no matter what the program is called.

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