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From The Pages of Orlando Weekly: The Coronavirus Pandemic has many people without health insurance on edge

Image: Florida Health Justice Project Logo,  www.floridahealthjustice.org
Image: Florida Health Justice Project Logo, www.floridahealthjustice.org

The coronavirus health crisis has many Americans without health insurance on edge, and a new report says Latino children are increasingly vulnerable.

Alison Yager of the Florida Health Justice Project says Florida has the third largest population of uninsured children, and almost 10 percent of all uninsured Latino children in the U.S. live in Florida.

Yager says much of the increase among Latino children is thanks to the Trump administration's efforts to reduce health care programs for immigrant families, plus Florida's complex web of multiple service providers.

Unlike other states, Florida divides eligibility among several programs such as Florida Healthy Kids, MediKids and Children's Medical Services. Children who are eligible are missing out on coverage because the enrollment process can be confusing.

And in 2019, federal updates to the "public charge" rule made it harder for people to get visas or green cards if they use some forms of public assistance, which is another reason they might avoid signing their children up for health coverage.

With coronavirus infections exploding throughout the U.S., any rule that discourages lawful immigrants from seeking healthcare is not just strict, it’s foolhardy. And when it puts children at greater risk for a deadly disease, it’s barbaric.

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