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Mother of 3 in Medicaid 'Gap' Dies

While 7 million Americans enrolled for health insurance before the March 31 Affordable Care Act deadline,  Charlene Dill wasn’t one of them.

The young mother of three collapsed and died from a treatable heart condition on March 21. She fell into  Florida’s health care gap; her income from part-time commission-based jobs was just $9,000, too poor for Affordable Care Act subsidies, the Orlando Weeklymagazine reports.

But Dill made too much to qualify for Medicaid in Florida, one of the states that turned down federal funds under the Affordable Care Act rather than expand Medicaid to low-income adults.

Dill's friend Kathleen Voss Woolrich uses Dill’s story as an example for why the state needs to reconsider its decision not to accept $51 billion over a decade to add 1 million working poor to the Medicaid rolls. Woolrich helped residents of poor neighborhoods enroll on, through her work with the Service Employees International Union and for Planned Parenthood, Orlando Weekly reports.

“She worked really hard to provide for her kids,” Woolrich said of Dill, who had multiple health problems but hadn’t been insured since 2009, Orlando Weekly reports. “She did baby-sitting, cleaned houses, collected cans for recycling and took them to recycling centers and got money for it, and sold vacuum cleaners. Whatever it took.”

Originally founded in December 2006 as an independent grassroots publication dedicated to coverage of health issues in Florida, Health News Florida was acquired by WUSF Public Media in September 2012.