Law and Medical Students Educate About Florida Medicaid Expansion

FIU Students from the Health Law and Policy Clinic – the College of Law’s medical-legal clinic that partners with the Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine’s Green Family Foundation NeighborhoodHELP (Health Education Learning Program) – recently spoke to Florida State Senator Rene Garcia about Medicaid expansion.

Under the direction of Professor Peggy Maisel, six law and six medical students were invited to meet with Senator Garcia, chair of the Health Policy Committee, to discuss Medicaid expansion and their efforts to improve health outcomes in four low-income Miami-Dade neighborhoods.

The students have worked together to evaluate the impact Medicaid expansion would have on the 200 NeighborhoodHELP Program households they work with and found that in 45 percent of these households, at least one member would be eligible for Medicaid under the expansion. Students shared this data with Senator Garcia and discussed examples of household members, who would benefit from Medicaid expansion.

“S.B. is a school crossing guard and mother of five, who earns too much to qualify for Medicaid. She has no health insurance, and is forced to borrow from her neighbor for medical expenses related to managing her diabetes and high blood pressure,” one student said. Although the clinic has helped her with issues of medical debt, access to medical treatment for her child, and a will, she would experience a greater benefit from Medicaid expansion.

Participating law students were Jonathan Abramson, Leonor Ayerdis, Ingrid Benson-Villegas, Alfonso Leon, Alisha Mays and Lee Neal, joined by medical students Casey Carr, Christopher Plescia, Andres Rodriguez, Sairah Thommi, David Weithorn and Lynn Zaremski.

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