"South Carolina, where I live, has refused to expand Medicaid coverage and I volunteer in my church's outreach program. Our clients need medical care and can't afford it. There is very little help for them. If we had expanded Medicaid, they would be in much better health and some could even go back to work and be productive with this help. It is extremely important that all people are able to access health care."
- Mary in Rock Hill, SC
Last night, U.S. Senate leadership released their plan for reconciliation and while the Inflation Reduction Act provides some significant gains in health care, (Yay!) there are still some key pieces missing that would expand health care coverage, promote health equity, and address the care crisis. (Boo!)
But we have a small window of opportunity to fix that!
What’s happening? The U.S. Senate is in final negotiations about what to include in a reconciliation package, which is now largely focused on health care. Even though there is strong support for expanding health care for uninsured people, there is still some resistance with some key Senators. In fact, a recent poll shows 95% of Democrats, 69% of Independents, and even 61% of Republicans support Congress expanding health coverage in the 12 states that have refused to expand Medicaid.
Everyone, regardless of race, class, or zip code, deserves to have health care coverage. Closing the unfair health coverage gap is important to help end discrimination in health care coverage and promote health equity. Right now, the majority of the over 2 million people who are currently in this “coverage gap” are people of color. The uninsured rates among Black and Latinx/Hispanic adults remains disproportionately higher than that of white adults, especially in these states. This disparity is largely reflective of unfair economic inequities, including that Black and Latinx/Hispanic adults are less likely to get health coverage from their employers, as well as of unfair immigration policies that constrain coverage options for many people. It is far past time for Congress to take action to improve health equity!
This is a critical time for you to make your voice heard for health equity and care! We have the opportunity to expand health care coverage to low-income uninsured adults and support health equity, but we need your voice to get these policies over the finish line in the next week!
This is an emergency. The United States is the most dangerous place to give birth in the industrialized world. And, across the country, families are also facing massive racial disparities in health outcomes for pregnant and postpartum people. In fact, Black moms are dying from pregnancy complications at 3-to-4 times the rate of their white counterparts, regardless of age, income, and education. Indigenous women face similar disparities. It doesn’t have to be this way! States that have expanded Medicaid have shown greater improvements in reducing maternal deaths and infant mortality. Reconciliation must fund efforts to address this disparity, diversify the prenatal workforce, tackle the maternal mental health crisis, and extend postpartum coverage.
Closing the coverage gap and including investments in the health and well-being of expectant mothers, specifically funding for the crucial provisions of the Black Maternal Health Momnibus Act of 2021 is key to reducing racial health inequities. Not to mention, 10 of the 12 states that haven’t expanded Medicaid either already have or are likely to enact bans or severe restrictions on abortion.
Moreover, we need access to affordable, high quality child care, as well as comprehensive paid family/medical leave, home- and community based services, and fair pay for care workers without delay. There’s no time to waste.
Don’t forget to sign on now! We’ll be delivering your signatures in the coming days. Tell your U.S. Senators to close the Medicaid gap, include the provisions of the Black Maternal Health Momnibus Act of 2021 in the reconciliation package, and address the childcare and care crisis!