Dead Child’s Family Struggled To Pay Medical Bills After Florida Slashed Health Care Assistance

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"Dead Child’s Family Struggled To Pay Medical Bills After Florida Slashed Health Care Assistance"

Joey Cosmillo via The Orlando Sentinel

A boy who nearly drowned five years ago passed away this week, after state budget cuts increased the cost of his care.

Joey Cosmillo almost died as a one year old after he fell in a pool, but was rescued and survived another five years with extensive medical assistance. Then two years ago, Florida lawmakers slashed health care funding for low-income people in favor of corporate tax cuts, and Cosmillo fell victim to the cuts.

According to his grandmother, the family struggled to pay Joey’s mounting medical bills, and the state assistance that used to help them wasn’t an option anymore:

Joey received 24-hour nursing care at home until state cutbacks two years ago gradually began taking that away. Long-term care of near-drowning victims can cost $180,000 a year and more than $4.5 million over their lifetimes, according to thepoolsafetyresource.com

Our family went broke trying to take care of him,” his grandmother said. [...] Joey’s mother Angela and his grandfather Richard “Rich” Cosmillo shared night care duties at their side-by-side apartments in Maitland. [...]

On Sunday night, Joey died at home. The next day, his grandfather was hospitalized.

“It was one of those horrible times when we didn’t have nursing all weekend,” his grandmother said. “We don’t know what happened.”

While Joey’s family suffered, Florida Gov. Rick Scott (R) gave corporations hundred of millions of dollars in tax breaks. Scott called his budget “fun” and “exciting,” and said that “jobs are going to grow like crazy” in Florida. But Florida unemployment remains among the highest in the country.

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