St. Petersburg, Fla. – AARP’s Florida State Director, Jeff Johnson, issued the following statement on a pending legislative coronavirus appropriations package now under consideration by the Florida Legislature:
“First, it’s important to note that the coronavirus outbreak has not had a widespread impact on Florida at this point. We understand that the federal government is working to make additional testing resources available, and it is encouraging that insurance now covering millions of Floridians, including Medicare and Medicaid, will cover the cost of testing. Now our focus should be on making sure coronavirus does not find a further foothold in our state,” Johnson said.
“On behalf of more than 2.8 million AARP members statewide, AARP Florida calls on the Florida Legislature to include financial support to offset the cost of testing for novel coronavirus for those Floridians not covered by Medicare, Medicaid or private health insurance, especially uninsured Floridians age 50-64 and frontline workers in hospitals, nursing homes, assisted living facilities and other elder-care facilities.”
“Additional testing can give Florida’s public health professionals their best chance at containing coronavirus and keeping its impact on our state limited.”
“We already know that the coronavirus is a significantly higher health risk for older people. A World Health Organization report issued in late February found that the virus was more than 10 times as deadly for people age 80 or older in China as for the overall population. Since Florida is America’s grayest state, it makes sense to remove barriers to containment of this disease.”
“We also know that it is especially important to protect residents, frontline staff and visitors to elder-care facilities. It is encouraging that Gov. DeSantis and state officials are working closely with the elder-care industry on prevention steps. It is nonetheless concerning to learn that four in 10 nursing homes that have earned the coveted five-star federal quality rating have been cited for violations of infection control protocols since 2017, according to an investigative report by Kaiser Health News earlier this week.”
“Florida government’s highest duty is to protect its residents. As the Legislature considers appropriate steps to prevent the spread of this illness in our state, more funding for testing makes sense.”
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AARP is the nation’s largest nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to empowering people 50 and older to choose how they live as they age. With a nationwide presence and nearly 38 million members, AARP strengthens communities and advocates for what matters most to families: health security, financial stability and personal fulfillment. AARP also produces the nation's largest circulation publications: AARP The Magazine and AARP Bulletin. To learn more, visit www.aarp.org or follow @AARP and @AARPadvocates on social media.
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