Health

Republicans’ “Callous Neglect” to Blame for Uninsured Woman’s Death

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Charlene Dill, a 32-year-old mother of three, collapsed and died in March because she was uninsured and could not afford the treatment for her chronic health condition.

President Obama’s Medicaid program was expanded so that low-income citizens would have access to a public health plan; however, the Supreme Court ruled that states have the option to turn down the expanded health coverage program. Florida is one of the states that refused to accept Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion.

Thus, people who make too much money to qualify for a public Medicaid plan, but too little to qualify for the federal subsidies to buy a plan on Obamacare’s private exchanges have been left in a coverage gap.

Dill, a Florida resident, was left working three part-jobs to make ends meet – and without health insurance.

When she used the online calculator to sign up for Obamacare on HealthCare.gov, she found that she fell within the coverage gap. In March, she was selling a vacuum cleaner at a stranger’s apartment when she died of the documented heart condition that she could not afford to treat.

In the past, Dill’s best friend, Kathleen Voss Woolrich, had occasionally turned to crowdfunding sites on the internet to raise money to pay for Dill’s heart medication. In March, Woolrich again turned to crowdfunding, this time to pay for Dill’s funeral.

Rep. Alan Grayson, who heard about this incident, said this of Dill's story:

“I memorialized Charlene’s life and death in the Congressional Record, because the Republicans want to pretend that none of this is happening. That Charlene didn’t die as a result of their callous neglect — that no Floridians will die as a result of their willful refusal to expand Medicaid at no cost,” he explained. “But I’m not going to let them forget. I’m not going to let them pretend. This is not a game; this is very real. This is life and death.”

A recent study conducted by Harvard researchers showed that Dill’s tragic death may soon become a widespread problem: the study estimated that as many as 17,000 people will die directly as a result of their state’s refusal to expand Medicaid.

In Florida, which has one of the highest uninsured rates in the nation, this means that Dill’s death is only one of about six such deaths every single day.

Sources: http://thinkprogress.org, http://www.dailykos.com

Photo Sources: http://thinkprogress.org

Sources: http://thinkprogress.org, http://www.dailykos.com

Photo Sources: http://thinkprogress.org

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