Month: February 2015

Personal stories highlight need to expand Medicaid

Personal stories highlight need to expand Medicaid

 Post date: February 19, 2015

Originally posted on the Health Care Foundation of Greater Kansas City blog

“Health insurance has given me peace of mind and I don’t have to worry about whether I’ll be able to eat or afford health insurance” – Abby

Missouri Health Care for All (MHCFA) is a grassroots movement working to ensure every Missourian has access to quality, affordable health care regardless of where they live or how much money they make. The best way to show the importance of health care in real lives is through personal stories.

Cut away the politics and health care is about real people’s lives. We share the stories of those who are affected by the health policy issues facing our state. From gaining health insurance for the first time in years or falling into the Coverage Gap until we expand Medicaid, these important stories are all around us.
Jamie falls into the coverage gap, making too much for to qualify for Medicaid, but not enough to afford health insurance. View her story here.

We find stories through our grassroots organizers, coalition partners, dedicated health insurance assisters, friends and volunteers. We partner with Saint Louis University Law School and their trained students to conduct story interviews and begin to engage these storytellers.

These voices carry on the work and message in many ways, including through:

  • Quotes and summaries shared online
  • Letters to the Editor & media interviews
  • Speaking at press conferences and local events
  • Traveling to the state capitol to share personal stories with legislators

We recently held a Day of Action at the Missouri Capitol to focus on the personal stories of those in the Coverage Gap. The day began with our storytellers being introduced as special guests of their legislators on the House and Senate floor, continued with the delivery of our Coverage Gap story books, and commenced with a press conference featuring those who will benefit from Medicaid Expansion. The day was filled with emotion and passion. Most moving for me was seeing and hearing how inspired our storytellers were by the 150 supporters who rallied alongside them.

Before they shared their stories with us, many did not think their voice mattered or that they even had a story to tell. Being asked to tell their story, join us at events, and seeing the many advocates and supporters working for better access to health care has lifted their hope for the future.

Now is always the time to act. Share your health story with us here or emailmohealthcareforall@gmail.com. Your voice and the voices of our coworkers, clients, and neighbors are valuable. They are the key to changing hearts and minds. Our stories allow us to cut through politics and focus on our shared, core values. Speak up and join us today.

You can view our latest collection of Coverage Gap stories and Marketplace Enrollment stories, hosted by Cover Missouri.

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Call your Senator! 1-800-980-4407

Call your Senator! 1-800-980-4407

Tell your State Senator you support Medicaid Expansion:

 Call 1-800-980-4407 to be connected to your State Senator. Tell your Senator we need to close the coverage gap for 300,000 Missourians. Tell them to expand Medicaid as part of any Medicaid reform and transformation bills.

About the Issue:

Click here for a downloadable flyer: Close the Coverage Gap in 2015

 

What is the Coverage Gap?

In Missouri, people who don’t get health insurance through a job have two major ways to get health insurance: Low-income people can get insurance through Medicaid, and moderate-income people can get help paying for insurance through the Health Insurance Marketplace.

However, eligibility for Medicaid is so low in Missouri that there are hundreds of thousands of people who don’t qualify for either program. They are in the Coverage Gap—too rich for Medicaid, but too poor for the Marketplace—with no way to get affordable insurance.

Right now, a family of three can make no more than $301 a month – about $10 a day – for the parents to qualify for Medicaid. However, this same family of three must make at least $1,650 a month to qualify for discounts in the Marketplace.

What Can Missouri Do to Close the Coverage Gap?

Missouri can accept federal funds that have been set aside for our state to help uninsured people get health insurance through Medicaid.

Who Benefits if Missouri Closes the Coverage Gap?

Closing the coverage gap will help 300,000 Missourians, most of whom are working, but whose jobs don’t provide insurance.

It will help Jamie, a Potosi mom who is working three jobs while she finishes her bachelor’s degree, but who is unable to get health care for injuries sustained in an abusive marriage.

It will also help Bertha, a home health care aide in Iron County who recently adopted her teenaged grandson. Bertha’s husband and grandson have insurance, but Bertha is uninsured, and has trouble affording her diabetes medicine.

And in Joplin, it will help Bert, who lost his health insurance when his company downsized. Bert’s long career in labor-intensive jobs have left him with chronic back, knee and hip issues that cost hundreds of dollars a month to treat. Bert is struggling to afford these expenses while he searches for a new job.

Click here for more stories.

Can We Afford to Close the Coverage Gap?

Yes. The Federal Government will pay 90% of the costs of closing the coverage gap. The State of Missouri will save
millions of dollars in current programs, making it a win for the state’s budget. Accepting the federal funds set aside for Missouri brings Missouri tax dollars back to the state, protects Missouri hospitals, and will save and create 24,000 jobs. In addition, when people have health insurance, they can access affordable preventive care, which can prevent costly emergency room visits later.

What Can I Do?

Tell your state legislators you want them to Close the Coverage Gap and Expand Medicaid. You can start by signing calling 1-800-980-4407 to be connected to your State Senator and sign the petition at http://bit.ly/Medicaid2015.

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