At this point, Anchia’s best hope is that his wife will be covered by a federal assistance program for uninsured COVID-19 patients. But that’s because he lives in one of the dozen holdout states that hasn’t expanded Medicaid through the Affordable Care Act. That part of the ACA was intended to provide health coverage for adults who are working but who have no insurance through their job — either because it’s not offered or because they can’t afford the premiums.
Medicaid provides health care for millions of low-income Americans. But its future depends very much on politics. Over the past four years, the Trump administration has tried to impose conservative principles on the program and shrink it. A Joe Biden presidency would attempt to go the other way.
“For example, me, I always work. I’ve been working 36 years in the same company,” says Anchia, who builds signage for airports. “And now I find myself in this position. Medicaid would be great for regular people. I’m not the only one.”
Anchia’s wife is out of the ICU, but he also expects he’ll need help paying for prescription medication when she’s sent home.
In Florida alone, roughly 1.5 million people would be eligible for coverage under Medicaid expansion, according to estimates by the Florida Health Justice Project. It’s a number that has grown recently because of the economic trouble and job losses triggered by the pandemic.