Genesis Matos Rodriguez suffers from Chronic Lung Disease. Rodriguez was born with asthma and Middle Lobe Syndrome, which causes mucus to build in her lungs. Two years ago, her right lung collapsed; surgeons removed half. Her monthly medical bill to ward off fluids, including Pulmozyme and Albuterol, can hit $4,000. Three months before her 20th birthday, the state declared Rodriguez independent and no longer eligible for Medicaid. Genesis falls through the Florida Coverage Gap. Each day her mom lays out Robitussin cough syrup and a glass of Alka-Seltzer, substitutes for the prescription pills they can no longer afford. Bursts of air and medicine open her airways. Medicaid funded the $10,000 Intrapulmonary Percussive Ventilator machine. Refills, however, still cost hundreds. She often skips the recommended daily doses to extend her supply. Despite her health issues, Genesis continues to go to school in hopes of achieving her dream of finishing auto mechanic training and opening up her own body shop one day.
Meanwhile, Mariamee Rodriquez, Genesis mother, continues to advocate in support of expanding health care coverage to all Floridians. Mariamee is a part time peer specialist. She herself does not have health insurance and falls throug
h the coverage gap. Mariamee also have health issues, but those do not compare to the pain she feels everyday watching her daughter suffer and knowing she cannot do anything to change that. Even though her daughter’s disease is not curable, it can be treated to alleviate her symptoms and keep her alive. Nevertheless, without access to health insurance, they cannot afford these treatments. “This is not fair, people are dying and no one cares,” exclaims Mariamee. She works tirelessly to educate people on the issue, and advocate for change. With expansion of health care coverage for all her daughter and thousands of others could access health care when they need it most.