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    Lisa M.J.

    Age: 41

    Miami-Dade County, FL


    What it’s Like to be Newly Diagnosed with Breast Cancer and Then Have Your Insurance Terminated!

  • In March 2023, Lisa was diagnosed with breast cancer. One month later, the Florida Department of Children and Families sent a profoundly confusing notice which said Lisa’s Medicaid, which Lisa had for over a decade, would end on April 30, 2023. The “reason” was: “You are receiving the same type of assistance from another program. Your Medicaid for this period is ending.” The notice did not explain that Medicaid was ending because Lisa’s daughter had turned 19 or that Lisa could apply for Medicaid based on Lisa’s disabilities. If Florida had expanded Medicaid like 40 other states, Lisa would not have to endure the unspeakable trauma of living with untreated breast cancer because Lisa’s in the “coverage gap.”  


    Here is Lisa's story in her own words:


    “As I sit here, trying to gather my thoughts and make sense of the uncertainty of my situation, I can feel the weight of my recent breast cancer diagnosis-bearing down on me. And as a Black woman, I am well aware of the increased risk of death from breast cancer for Black women compared to White women".


    Losing my Medicaid coverage is a traumatic experience that leaves me feeling stressed, anxious, and overwhelmed. It’s coupled with other upsetting, traumatic events like my family witnessing the murder of my father in our family home when I was 14 years old. This crime is still unsolved. Due to the adverse childhood trauma, I battle with Major Depressive Disorder, Anxiety Disorder, and Complex Posttraumatic Stress Disorder survived Postpartum Depression which keeps replaying, causing continuous night terrors.


    I can't allow ‘Breast Cancer’ to take my life physically, mentally, and emotionally. But every decision I now make feels like an impossible task. Even small choices that came naturally to me, like what to have for breakfast, now seem daunting. I have constant invasive concerns about the present and future and how I'll manage my medical bills and treatment without insurance to receive the proper care needed to survive this awful disease. The lack of sleep due to these concerns has only made things harder, leaving me exhausted and physically and psychologically drained.


    Living with the trauma of losing Medicaid over a decade at such a crucial time with Breast Cancer, combined with the recurring, involuntary, and intrusive memories from the past and the present, has been challenging. With the support of loved ones, medical professionals, and resources available in the community, I'm determined to keep pushing forward and fight this battle of racial disparities of Black women. But I need Medicaid.”


  • Read STORIES Of Other Floridians

    Relying On Medicaid





    Former Foster

    Care Children

    Seniors and People With Disabilities

  • We are grateful to the National Health Law Program (NHeLP) for their support of the

    "Medicaid | The Lived Experience" STORIES Project.

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