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Need new health insurance NOW?

If you experience certain life changes, you don’t have to wait for Open Enrollment in November to enroll in affordable health coverage on healthcare.gov or your state’s marketplace. You have 60 days after the following events to apply for a Special Enrollment Period and enroll:

• Moving to a new zip code or county
• Getting married or divorced
• Having a baby, adopting or becoming a foster parent
• Becoming a U.S. citizen or getting a green card

You have 60 days before or after the following to enroll: 

• Losing your health insurance from your job
• Turning 26 and aging off your parent’s health plan

And if you are experiencing domestic violence and want to apply for your own health plan, you can do so at any time.

Learn more about Special Enrollment Periods at healthcare.gov or call 1-800-318-2596.

 

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RWVoices

Thursday
May162019

Wins in Texas & Losses in Alabama

The Texas House passes 12 month postpartum Medicaid bill!

The Afiya Centerour Dallas-based regional coordinator, has been a leader on maternal mortality work, and now has another policy win under their belt. On Monday, the Texas House passed HB 744, which extends Medicaid coverage for women from 60 days to 12 months postpartum. This is the first bill recommended by the Texas Maternal Mortality Task Force to successfully pass one chamber of the state legislature. The Afiya Center provided bill sponsor State Rep. Toni Rose with education on this this issue, helping her and others understand how expanding Medicaid coverage after childbirth can help reduce maternal mortality.

“We believe this legislation will not only go far towards ending Maternal Mortality but also Maternal Morbidity,” said Marsha Jones, executive director of The Afiya Center.  “We are truly excited … that HB744 has passed out of the House.” HB 744 would help reduce maternal deaths and serious complications by extending health care coverage to a full year after birth, in order to detect and treat health conditions before they become damaging or even fatal.
 
The Afiya Center set the stage for this victory by successfully advocating for the passage ofThe Texas Moms Matter Act in 2017.  The act created a Maternal Mortality and Morbidity Task Force within the Department of State Health Services to review cases of pregnancy-related deaths and trends in severe maternal morbidity and to make recommendations about how the state can reduce the unacceptably high rate in Black women. Expanding coverage to women for a full year after childbirth is one of the steps recommended by the Task Force.  The postpartum coverage bill goes to the Senate next, where it must pass before the session is scheduled to end on May 27th

Title X Gag Rule Blocked

We were relieved that the Title X gag rule – which was finalized by the Trump administration in early March – was recently blocked in court. On April 25, Judge Stanley Bastian in the Eastern District of Washington issued a nationwide injunction blocking the Title X gag rule in its entirety, effective immediately. As a reminder, the final rule governing eligibility for Title X planning funds included a number of provisions that would be devastating to the more than 4 million low-income people who use the federal Title X family planning program. If allowed to go into effect, the final rule would:

  • permit Title X funded clinics to give biased and misleading counseling and to withhold information about all reproductive health care options, including medically approved contraceptive methods (such as birth control pills or IUDs)
  • Forbid clinic staff from providing patients with full and accurate information or a referral to an abortion provider
  • prohibit clinics that also offer abortion care from serving Title X patients without creating a whole new clinic first. (Family planning providers are already prohibited from using Title X federal funds to provide abortions.)
  • potentially transfer millions of taxpayer dollars away from real reproductive health clinics and give that money to religiously-affiliated fake clinics.

The April 25 ruling stems from a challenge brought by the National Family Planning & Reproductive Health Association (NFPRHA) along with co-plaintiff Cedar River Clinics and Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson. The preliminary injunction is the first step in the legal process to permanently block the Title X rule. There are currently eight lawsuits against the Title X gag rule, which was set to take effect on May 3. In addition, Judge Michael McShane of the United States District Court for the District of Oregon recently announced from the bench that he would also issue a preliminary injunction in a case brought by Planned Parenthood and the American Medical Association.
 
A new Kaiser poll on the public’s views on reproductive health shows a majority of the public (58%) oppose the Trump administrations changes to restrict Title X funds from clinics that also provide or refer for abortion. The poll also finds that in light of the Trump administration’s actions, 68% of Americans, including three-fourths (76%) of women of reproductive age and nearly half of Republicans (49%), are concerned that the new regulations would limit access to women’s reproductive health and preventive care services.

House of Representatives Votes to Protect Patients with
Pre-existing Conditions

What a difference an election makes!  After Republican-led efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act succeeded in the House of Representatives only to fail by the narrowest of margins in the Senate, the House has taken a stand in support of the ACA.  Last week, a majority of the House, including four Republications, voted in favor of HR 986, the Protecting Preexisting Conditions and Making Health Care More Affordable Act.  The bill would do away with Trump-era guidelines that allow states to use ACA subsidies for skimpy health plans that do not provide full coverage.  RWV and its regional coordinators have warned women and LGBTQ folks against skimpy plans.  They may seem attractive because of lower premiums, but they will leave many people without coverage for crucial services, such as childbirth and cancer screening.  If HR 986 were to pass both chambers and be signed into law, the original intent of the ACA would be restored and all insurance plans would again cover essential services.  However, the bill moves next to the Senate, where it is likely to face stiff opposition.

Alabama Passes Near-Total Abortion Ban

While there’s much to celebrate – from votes to expand postpartum pregnancy related Medicaid coverage to protecting patients with pre-existing conditions – we share the deep concern and outrage over the recent passage of the most extreme abortion ban since Roe v. Wade. This week, the Alabama governor signed into law a bill that bans abortion at every stage of pregnancy, with an exception only to save the life of the patient. There are no exceptions for rape or incest, and doctors who perform abortions could be sent to prison for up to 99 years. This comes on the heels of the passage last week of another draconian law in Georgia that bans abortion after six weeks of pregnancy and before a woman would even realize she is pregnant (see more in last week’s RWV newsletter). We know the real goal of these new laws is to create a court challenge that will give the Supreme Court the opportunity to overturn Roe v. Wade.

Wednesday
May082019

Trump’s religious refusal rule faces legal challenge

Trump’s religious refusal rule faces legal challenge

In a move that disappointed and angered health care activists, the Trump administration issued a rule giving health care providers wide latitude to refuse to deliver health care services.  The move has grave implications for the ability of women and LGBTQ individuals to get health care services they need, as it explicitly allows clinicians and facilities to opt out of providing abortion, assisted reproduction, sterilization and care for transgender individuals.   In a sign of the seriousness of this infringement on people’s health care rights, both the city and county of San Francisco filed suit against the rule the same day it was announced by President Trump. 

 

According to RWV co-founder, Lois Uttley, “Not only individual medical providers, but also hospitals, pharmacies and clinics, will be able to refuse to deliver any health care services to which they have personal or institutional objections. Hospital admitting personnel or ambulance drivers could conceivably cite personal objections to ‘assisting in the performance of’ medical services to which they object.

“What could this mean for patients? Women suffering reproductive emergencies – such as early miscarriages – could be denied prompt, medically-appropriate treatment. Rape survivors could be denied emergency contraception to prevent pregnancies. Transgender and gender nonconforming people could be denied hormones or surgery for gender transition. Same-sex couples could be denied infertility services.”

The rule is scheduled to take effect 60 days after it is published in the Federal Register.  If it goes into effect as written, it will place clinics, hospitals and other health care providers at risk of losing their eligibility for federal programs, such as Medicare, if its provisions aren’t followed.  The rule, which is 440 pages long, consolidates earlier rules shielding individual providers from retribution if they refused to provide health care services such as abortion or sterilization, and expands this protection to include health care entities.  The rule now applies to state governments, home health care providers, front desk staff, insurance companies, ambulance providers and many others. 

The administration issued this rule despite receiving a significant number of comments on itsproposed rule from January 2018. Many of these comments were generated by RWV and its allies, and focused on the harm the rule would cause for women, LGBTQ individuals and other vulnerable populations.   President Trump’s decision to announce the release of the final rule at a National Day of Prayer event makes it appear that he’s more interested in satisfying a voting bloc rather than ensuring people get the care they need. 

Medicaid Expansion win in Montana!

In 2015, Montana Women Vote led the effort to pass Medicaid expansion in the Montana Legislature. Since then, nearly 100,000 Montanans have gained healthcare coverage. That is almost 1 in 10 Montanans. Medicaid expansion has reduced Montana’s uninsured rate from 20% to 7% and has resulted in state savings to Montana’s general fund. Forty eight percent of Medicaid expansion enrollees resided outside of Montana’s seven largest urban areas, and the program covers nearly 16,000 American Indians, roughly 20% of the American Indian population in Montana. Medicaid expansion has been a lifeline for access to healthcare in rural Montana and Indian Country. This year, Montana Women Vote sought to reauthorize Medicaid expansion, as it was set to expire in July, 2019

During the 2019 Montana State Legislature, Montana Women Vote organized thousands of Montanans to make their voices heard and help defend this vital program. They held regular phone banks, submitted over 1,000 comments to lawmakers, held lobby days (photo at right), and rallied with over 400 Montanans from across the state. House Bill (HB) 425 -- which would have lifted the Medicaid expansion sunset and continued Montana’s original Medicaid expansion program without any restrictions or barriers -- was tabled on March 25th. After tabling HB 425, the House Human Services Committee passed House Bill 658, a compromise bill that will continue Montana’s Medicaid expansion program. HB 658 was heavily amended during the process in order to ensure that it protects health coverage, even while establishing community engagement requirements. During the next phase of this effort, Montana Women Vote will work to ensure the program is implemented in a way that protects coverage for Montanans.

Georgia Governor signs heartbeat bill into law

Yesterday, Brian Kemp, GA Governor, signed one of the nation’s most restrictive anti-abortion bills into law. The bill bans abortion once a fetal heartbeat is detected, which normally occurs at 6 weeks, which is before most people even realize they’re pregnant.

Feminist Women’s Health Center (FWHC), our Atlanta-based regional coordinator, has been working around the clock advocating against the bill, sending countless action alerts, organizing rallies, and advocacy days at the state capital. “Even though Kemp has signed the anti-abortion HB 481 bill, abortion is still LEGAL in Georgia right now. We will continue providing safe and compassionate abortion care to all those who need it. And we will continue fighting for our communities to ensure that this bill doesn’t go into effect in 2020, said FWHC.”

FWHC along with many other reproductive advocates will still keep fighting for a strong reproductive justice movement in the South. Georgia’s bill has become a model for other states looking to reduce abortion accessibility. Mississippi, Kentucky, and Ohio have also signed similar bills into law. Nonetheless, this bill is a direct violation of Roe v. Wade and advocates like the Center for Reproductive Rights will be taking legal action to ensure this law doesn’t go into effect.

How do you give back to all the mothers (and mother figures) in your life?

Brunch is nice, but empowering them to take care of their health is better! In honor of Mother’s Day, we’re hosting a Twitter Chat to share insider health tips with all the mamas we love.

You don’t want to miss this opportunity to get the facts from on-the-ground experts in LGBTQ, Latinx, African-American and Asian-American women’s health!

Thursday
May022019

Trump administration issues rule that will increase discrimination against women and LGBTQ people

*UPDATE: The final religious refusal rule has now been released. We will share our analysis in the next update of our blog.

Trump administration poised to issue rules that will increase discrimination against women and LGBTQ people

This week, we have several positive developments to report on from the states. Keep reading to learn more about recent wins in Massachusetts and Maryland!

Meanwhile, on a less positive note, we’re anticipating the release today of two Trump administration rules that will increase health care discrimination against women, transgender and other LGBTQ people seeking health care. The first is a proposed federal rule that we expect will undermine enforcement of  non-discrimination provisions of the Affordable Care Act. This rule will likely roll back portions of a 2016 Obama administration regulation interpreting Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) – the nondiscrimination provision, also known as the Health Care Rights Law. That provision prohibits any health program or activity that receives federal funding from discriminating against individuals on the basis of sex. The Obama rule interpreted sex discrimination to include any discrimination based on an individual’s gender identity, their departure from traditional sex stereotypes  or a patient’s request for, or past history of, termination of pregnancy.

This proposed rule would likely subject members of the LGBTQ community to renewed, and possibly intensified discrimination in health care, such as in denial of gender transition services, purposeful misgendering, improper hospital room assignments and improper or hostile treatment by health care providers. It could also mean that patients could be denied medically-indicated terminations of pregnancy, such as in cases of reproductive emergencies.

We’re also expecting a final rule that will likely expand the ability of health providers to refuse care based on personal religious or moral objections. This rule was proposed in January 2018, and more than 200,000 comments – including comments from RWV and our regional coordinators – were submitted in response.
Taken together, these two rules pose a serious threat to health care access. They are part of a coordinated attack by the Trump-Pence Administration on the health and well-being of patients, particularly women and LGBTQ patients, who are more likely to be subject to discrimination and refused needed health care, such as abortion and transition related services.

We’ll keep you posted as we learn more about these rules, and will highlight upcoming opportunities to speak out against them.

The Cap on Kids has been Lifted!

In Maryland, our regional coordinator, Consumer Health First, has been advocating for the adoption of HB 127/SB 36 - Health Benefit Plans - Special Enrollment for Pregnancy. This legislation – which passed the Maryland General Assembly with unanimous support and now goes to Governor Hogan’s desk for signature – makes pregnancy a "life-qualifying" event and allows people to purchase private insurance through Maryland Health Connection outside of the six-week open enrollment period.

The ACA established an open enrollment period, during which people can purchase their own health insurance through the marketplace. In order to address instances where people’s life circumstances change outside of the open enrollment period, such as marriage, divorce, or losing one’s health insurance, "Special Enrollment Periods" were created. While having a baby is included as a life-qualifying event under the ACA, pregnancy is not. As a result, some uninsured people (who weren’t otherwise eligible for Medicaid) were unable to get prenatal services critical to their own health and the health of their babies.  Under Maryland’s new legislation, after receiving certification of their pregnancy from their health care provider, an individual in the state will have 90 days to apply for coverage. Their coverage will be effective from the first day of the month in which they enroll.

As states across the country are working to address maternal health disparities, Maryland serves as a model for one way to help ensure timely and appropriate maternity care, including prenatal care. This legislation will help provide better health outcomes for mothers and babies, and is particularly important for women of color who are disproportionately impacted by pregnancy-related health disparities. 

Beth Sammis, Consumer Health First President said, “We find it hard to conceive of the fact that, until now, uninsured women could only get health insurance at the time they gave birth and not during the critical prenatal period. That made no sense, and, since 2016 when the legislation was first introduced, we have said so. Now, with the strong leadership of Delegate Ariana Kelly (D-16) and Senator Clarence Lam (D-12) we can ensure that Maryland supports a policy of healthy moms and healthy babies." 

NARAL Pro-Choice Massachusetts, our Boston based regional coordinator, celebrated the recent repeal of the “Cap on Kids” or the “Family Cap.” A law that has been on the books in the state denies welfare benefits to children conceived while or soon after the family receives state assistance. Under the recently repealed law, which originated out of harmful and racist stereotypes about welfare recipients, the state currently denies assistance to approximately 8,700 children.

Legislation to repeal the cap was initially vetoed by Governor Baker, but the legislature successfully overrode the veto. According to Mass Live, a single mother with two children, one of whom was born while the family was on welfare, will see her monthly payment increase from $491 to $593. Until the legislation’s passage, Massachusetts remained one of 16 states to have a family cap, and is now the ninth state to repeal an existing cap. NARAL Pro-Choice Massachusetts celebrated the repeal as a reproductive justice victory. It takes the state one step closer to a world in which every Bay Stater can decide if and when to have children, and be able to feed, clothe, and care for those children. 

Study shows Medicaid Expansion improves health outcomes for black infants

Medicaid Expansion has continued to play a vital role in providing health coverage to millions of Americans across the country. But, what about health disparities? According to a study by Brown and colleagues, published in JAMA, Medicaid Expansion is helping to reduce longstanding disparities between the health of black and white infants.  The study at the health looked at the health of babies born in18 states and Washington, DC, all of which have expanded Medicaid and compared them to babies born in 17 states that have not expanded Medicaid.  The article explains that disparities in preterm birth and low birth weight between black and white infants significantly improved in expansion states.   For years there have been persistent differences between black and white babies in the likelihood that of experiencing these dangerous outcomes.

Medicaid Expansion does not cure anything and everything but what we do know is that black babies are experiencing better outcomes in states that have expanded coverage. Reducing racial disparities continues to be a barrier to true health justice. To see results such as these due to Medicaid eligibility, it’s worth paying attention.

Together for the People

RWV coordinating team members Lois Uttley, Ann Danforth and Cindy Pearson (pictured above) joined 700 supporters of health justice to honor Rob Restuccia and celebrate Community Catalyst and Health Care for All (Massachusetts).   Restuccia, who died of pancreatic cancer earlier this year, served as the executive director of both organizations.  The event raised over $2 million for the organizations’ work to engage and support consumers, protect and defend access to health care, and fight for health justice.  A highlight of the evening was an interactive fundraising activity that raised $150,000 towards the Rob Restuccia Health Justice Organizational Fellowship, an intentional investment in next-generation health advocacy and leadership. 

Thursday
Apr252019

Medicaid work requirements not really about work

Medicaid work requirements not really about work

This week, our last article for Medicaid Awareness Month highlights the ways that conservatives are using bureaucratic red tape to dismantle Medicaid from within by making coverage impossible to retain.

In 2017, congressional Republicans tried to gut long-standing coverage guarantees in traditional Medicaid under the pretense of repealing the Affordable Care Act. When thatfailed, the Trump administration quickly switched to encouraging states to load up their Medicaid programs with so much red tape that eligible people would lose coverage.

Dressed up in rhetoric like “improv[ing] Medicaid enrollee health and well-being through incentivizing work and community engagement,” the true intent of these efforts is to make compliance with the rules so cumbersome that few can do it.

Making Medicaid coverage conditional on meeting work requirements is a particularly compelling example because there are very few Medicaid beneficiaries who could be working but aren’t. As the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities notes, the overwhelming majority of adults with Medicaid already work, are too sick to work, are going to school, are taking care of family members, or are already actively looking for work and can’t find it.

Work requirements won’t change those circumstances, but the red tape associated with trying to prove compliance will cause many of those people to lose coverage. As the New York Times reported last year, “a large body of social science suggests that the mere requirement of documenting work hours is likely to cause many eligible people to lose coverage.” As the article notes, “these [administrative hurdles] may be especially daunting for the poor, who tend to have less stable work schedules and less access to resources that can simplify compliance: reliable transportation, a bank account, internet access.”

That means that hundreds of thousands of eligible low-income women—including those who are already working, who are serving as an unpaid care-giver, who are disabled, or who should qualify for an exemption—will lose their coverage anyway simply because they can’t keep jumping through all of the right hoops.

But for the Trump administration, that’s a feature, not a bug. In Arkansas, for example, the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS)—led by Vice President Mike Pence’s close ally Seema Verma—approved a waiver designed to make it as difficult for working Arkansans to report their work hours as possible. In Kentucky, state health officials boastedthat their waiver would save the state money because 95,000 eligible Kentuckians would lose coverage.

While the Obama-led CMS rejected work requirements, Trump’s CMS has approved them under the guise of “demonstration projects” in 9 states: Arkansas, Kentucky, Indiana, New Hampshire, Arizona, Michigan, Ohio, Utah, and Wisconsin. An additional 6 states—Alabama, Mississippi, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee, and Virginia—have work requirement proposals pending with CMS. But because the law doesn’t give CMS this authority, these state waivers are subject to litigation. Last year, we quoted former CMS official Eliot Fishman explaining why:

"[W]aivers must meet a legal requirement that they try to strengthen the Medicaid program: by expanding coverage, improving care delivery, or help safety net hospitals and other providers. But CMS’s recent announcement is directly opposed to the central Medicaid goal of covering low-income people. This is the first time in the 52-year history of the program that Medicaid waivers have been approved to reduce coverage instead of to expand it."

Thus far, the courts have agreed. After more than 18,000 people lost coverage in Arkansas, the only state to have had a work requirement go into effect thus far, federal district court Judge James E. Boasberg ruled that CMS “had not adequately considered whether the program ‘would in fact help the state furnish medical assistance to its citizens, a central objective of Medicaid’” and concluded that the agency’s “approval cannot stand.” The same judge delayed implementation of Kentucky’s work requirement before it could begin, pending the outcome of litigation. New Hampshire is currently scheduled to start taking away coverage from people who fail to meet its work requirements on August 1, though a lawsuit filed against that waiver is also headed to Judge Boasberg’s court. The cases may ultimately end up before the Supreme Court.


Even in states that haven’t expanded Medicaid or initiated work requirements yet, thousands of low-income women, children, and families have lost their coverage because they couldn’t keep up with the bureaucratic paperwork demands. In Tennessee, 1 out of 8 children lost coverage in a two-year period because of paperwork. In Texas, repeated, unnecessary income checks have “led to thousands of kids being abruptly kicked off the program — and data shows that many of those removals were in error,” according to the Texas Tribune.

Having successfully fought to save Medicaid from congressional attacks and proved the popularity of Medicaid expansion through ballot initiatives, advocates must not lose sight of the ways that conservatives are seeking to hollow out Medicaid from the inside out.

Just as the onslaught of anti-abortion state laws have made the Constitutional right to an abortion a right in name only for millions of women, so too do conservatives hope to make Medicaid coverage exist in name only, turning it into a health care program for the poor so riddled with bureaucratic red tape that even wealthy households would struggle to cut through.

Thursday
Apr182019

Medicaid expansion is a women’s health issue!

Medicaid expansion helps women and our families

In this week’s installment of our series of articles recognizing April as Medicaid Awareness Month, we’re highlighting the importance of the Affordable Care Act’s Medicaid expansion and what it means to women and families.

Prior to enactment of the ACA in 2010, many parents with dependent children were eligible for Medicaid only if they had incomes well below the poverty line. Most adults without dependent children weren’t eligible at all, although the rules varied state to state. As a result, contrary to popular belief, millions of even the poorest Americans weren’t eligible for coverage.

Congress’s remedy, enacted as part of the ACA, was to extend Medicaid eligibility to individuals with incomes up to 138% of the federal poverty level (FPL) -- regardless of whether they fit into one of the pre-existing eligibility categories, which were for pregnant people, people with disabilities, children and seniors.

For millions of low-income Americans, that meant qualifying for high quality health coverage for the first time in their lives. But the Medicaid expansion as envisioned by the ACA wasn’t just a huge leap forward in public health and women’s health. It also addressed the institutional racism that was original Medicaid’s original sin.

Writing for the Women’s Health Activist, RWV co-founder Cindy Pearson explains:

“But while the same congressional act created Medicaid and Medicare, only Medicaid was built on the foundation of earlier public assistance programs, with all of their existing racist, distorted, and discriminatory aspects. … Ceding coverage decisions to the states let the Jim Crow South drag its feet; 32 other states adopted [original] Medicaid before even one former Confederate state did, and Southern resistance continued for decades. The federal government mandated that parents of dependent children be covered but, in reality, coverage was almost unobtainable in Southern states, which capped eligibility at income levels as low as 10% FPL. Even when the federal government offered matching funds to encourage states to cover pregnant women, working parents, and certain low-income children, Southern states rejected most of these opportunities.

The ACA sought to fix this unequal, unjust system by requiring states to participate in Medicaid and by equalizing eligibility in all states. For the first time, low-income American adults would be guaranteed access to health care coverage under the law no matter where they lived in the U.S. and states couldn’t play games with their eligibility requirements to deny coverage to people of color. If a state denied someone coverage under the old rules, she would still qualify under the new expansion.”

 
But as we know, the story doesn’t end there. In 2012, a group of conservative states led by Florida challenged the ACA’s Medicaid expansion in court. The Supreme Court upheld the expansion’s constitutionality, but made it optional for states. With one decision, the Court took the potential opportunity for health care away from millions of vulnerable women and restored a decades-old structure built to appease Jim Crow segregationists.

While 25 states and Washington, DC, expanded Medicaid as envisioned by the ACA on January 1, 2014, the fight to expand in the remaining 25 states and to protect the expansion in the original 26 must now be waged state by state.

For the last five years, expanding Medicaid nationwide and fixing the Court’s mistake has been one of RWV’s most important missions. Our regional coordinators have successfully helped push for Medicaid expansion in Pennsylvania, Montana, Louisiana, and Maine. But given Medicaid’s history, it’s no surprise that of the remaining 14-17 states without expansions, 7 are in the Deep South and 4 are Southern border states. (While Utah, Idaho and Nebraska have officially “adopted” Medicaid expansion and are included in official counts, GOP lawmakers in those three states have taken action to roll back coverage.) As Cindy notes, “the remaining opposition isn’t rational, it’s rooted in deeply held prejudices.” But there’s hope. RWV starts at the grassroots, and organizes across race and class. Join us in working to make Medicaid a true safety net for all.

New state reports on Medicaid and rural communities

Medicaid is vital to the health and wellbeing of rural areas across the country. For Medicaid Awareness Month, the national Protect Our Care coalition has created state-by-state reports on how threats to Medicaid affect rural residents.  You can find the one for your state here.

What do we learn from these reports? Well, for example, an estimated 726,000 Georgians would gain health coverage if that state were to finally expand its Medicaid program. Currently, 26 percent of Georgia adults living in rural areas are uninsured, compared to 19 percent in non-rural regions of the state. The state’s refusal to expand Medicaid has placed 26 rural hospitals at great financial risk. Severn rural hospitals have already closed in Georgia since 2010, when Georgia lawmakers turned down Medicaid expansion.