2014 Equal Justice Works Fellow, Charlotte Joseph Cassel

Charlotte Joseph Cassel

Name of Host Organization: Florida Legal Services, Inc.
City, State: Miami, Florida
Issue area: Health Care
Sponsors: Greenberg Traurig, LLP; The Florida Bar Foundation; The Florida Bar

The Project

Charlotte’s project was focused on ensuring that vulnerable Floridians are able access essential health care services in an overhauled health care system through direct client representation, impact advocacy, and education.

The Inspiration

Need Addressed By Project: 
Florida has the second highest rate of uninsured Americans and nearly 10% of the country’s uninsured. However, as we have now seen during the first three open enrollment periods for the Affordable Care Act (ACA), Floridians desperately want coverage. Furthermore, Florida has not accepted funds to expand Medicaid, leaving many vulnerable individuals at risk. Additionally, the Medicaid program has undergone a massive overhaul during the transition to Managed Care, which has left many people at risk for not receiving the care to which they are entitled. During this critical time, it is important that Floridians receive the representation they need and that the larger systemic issues of access to health care are adequately addressed.
Fellowship Highlights: 
In the past two years, Charlotte has:
• Partnered with community organizations, and assisted individual clients, to ensure that the ACA is working for those entitled to coverage.
• Worked on a case that ultimately resulted in the Florida Medicaid agency agreeing to cover treatment for Hepatitis-C patients, regardless of disease progression – making Florida a national leader in the provision of treatment.
• Provided assistance to homeless individuals experiencing barriers to accessing services under Medicaid.
• Advocated for the expansion of Medicaid in order to provide all low-income Floridians with access to health care services.
Where are they now?: 
Now that the Fellowship is complete, Charlotte plans to:
• Work at Lotus House, a local women’s homeless shelter, where she will provide expertise on access to health care, advocate for policies that support women and children, and support the trauma-informed programs and services that enable women and children to reach their full potential

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