Miriam Harmatz, Co-Executive Director of Florida Health Justice Project
One of Florida’s leading Medicaid advocates, Miriam is a former senior health law attorney at Florida Legal Services and adjunct professor in the Health Law Clinic at Florida International University College of Law. As a young child with a health issue, Miriam learned that everyone must have insurance and that healthcare is a human right. She wrote her senior college thesis on why Congress failed to pass a national health insurance bill in 1974, and as a legal services attorney for 30 years she focused on ensuring access to healthcare for her clients.
Miriam has been lead counsel on multiple federal court cases resulting in statewide relief for Medicaid beneficiaries. These successful outcomes, including federal court cases of first impression and with national import, are the result of highly collaborative work with national experts, Florida legal aid lawyers and pro bono attorneys. On a local level, Miriam led collaborative efforts that improved access and transparency at Miami-Dade County’s publicly funded hospital. This work includes administrative complaints successfully challenging outpatient and inpatient admission deposit policies, discrimination against foreign born county residents, and violations of consumer protections provided under the ACA, the first complaint of its kind in the nation.
Because Florida has not yet expanded Medicaid under the ACA, Miriam has focused on outreach and education detailing the tremendous human and economic benefits of extending coverage and the adverse impacts in failing to do so. And since the 2016 election, she has been part of the massive advocacy effort devoted to defending the ACA and Medicaid.