Medicaid Expansions

My “why” of organizing starts with health care access and then extends to all kinds of other issues. In 2018, the United States just got healthier due to passing Medicaid Expansions in Idaho, Utah, Nebraska, Maine and Virginia. According to another 850,000 people in these states will be covered in 2019 due to the expansion. We are slowly and surely closing some of the affordability gap by increasing health care access.

But make no mistake. Access wasn’t granted without voting for a ballot measure in these states. In Maine, the last Governor blocked the ballot measure, but the new Governor will unblock the measure and expand access in 2019. Who our elected officials are matters.

Medicaid Expansion
6.5 million people still uncovered in the states colored in red

My own health care journey starts at the shock I experienced after college by not being able to purchase quality health care due to a pre-existing condition. I did what a lot of uninsured people do, I rationed health care, used Planned Parenthood for all my primary health care, and used a free clinic when I needed urgent care. I also relied on lots of home remedies. I was lucky that I was young and healthy.

California expanded healthcare to small businesses in the early 1990’s and once I was able to join a comprehensive affordable plan, I stuck to it. All my work-related decisions from then on has had health care coverage as a large consideration. Could I afford coverage? What if I lost coverage? Would I ever get it back?

I truly believe that affordable health care access is a right and not a privilege. And with a new Congress, further repeals of the Affordable Care Act will be much harder. Again, who our elected officials are matters.

If you would like to get involved, please join a health access organization near you and regularly communicate with your Congressperson what health care means to you. Share your health care story with your elected officials and others. Please check out Health Care Voter to find an organization near you.

-Molly Hermes