Special Olympics Gold Medalist Left Uninsured

Matt Ross during his visit to the Capitol in Tallahassee

Matt Ross during his visit to the Capitol in Tallahassee

As a child, Matt Ross won medals in the Special Olympics. Today, he is a 23 year old part-time worker who has been denied Medicaid as it stands in Florida. Matt is living with autism. Even though he has a developmental disability, he has been denied Medicaid because he is considered fully functional. Matt works part-time holding a sign on a busy highway, a job that is very dangerous, “there have been a few times I had to jump back to avoid being hit by a car.” When he is avoiding being hit by cars, he is scorched by the blazing hot sun five hours at a time while he stands there holding that sign. Matt is unable to find another job or work more for a number of reasons. Matt cannot drive due to his disability, he lives in a high school area that employs high school students for part time work so he is competing with them for work, he cannot find another job because the bus schedule is at two hour intervals, and he cannot ask to work full time holding a sign.

Matt and his mother were in a car accident about three years ago. They were hit by an uninsured motorist. Since Matt did not have health insurance he was never able to seek the care he needed. His shoulder is still in pain, “I can’t write with my right hand because my right arm starts to shake, I have been relying on my left arm since my accident.” Matt is stuck in the coverage gap. In order to qualify for marketplace subsidies he has to make twice as much as he is currently making. Matt wants to work more and make more money, but he is unable to. Since he is not eligible for disability he is left uninsured.