Having access to affordable, quality health care is important for people to protect and improve their health. Yet, right now, too many people across the country work at jobs that don’t offer health insurance. Many also have been hit hard by the recent pandemic, working in industries experiencing the highest rates of unemployment, like hairdressers, retail workers, bartenders and wait staff. This is forcing hundreds of thousands of our neighbors and family members to choose between life-saving care and putting food on the table.
The American Heart Association is committed to making sure all Americans have access to affordable, quality healthcare coverage and we are encouraging state lawmakers to expand Medicaid and close the coverage gap.
Did you know people living on low incomes who qualify for Medicaid coverage are more likely to have heart conditions than people with other types of health insurance coverage? Medicaid participants are also generally sicker and in poorer health than other Americans, making this coverage critical. Uninsured and underinsured patients are more likely to report access issues related to cost, including not filling a prescription, forgoing needed specialist care, or even not seeking medical care during an acute heart attack.
In Mississippi, we're urging state lawmakers to expand Medicaid in order to provide healthcare coverage for those who earn too much for traditional Medicaid, but not enough for private insurance; many who are working at jobs with low pay and no health insurance benefits. In addition, expanding Medicaid will bring the state's tax dollars home from the federal government to help create jobs, keep rural hospitals open and grow the economy.
Delaying care can have huge negative consequences for both patients and for the healthcare system. Right now, Mississippi has 2,000 less nurses in hospitals now than before the start of the pandemic in 2019. Expanding access to care would allow the state to be competitive when it comes to hiring and retaining healthcare workers, especially nurses. If Mississippi does not expand access to care, it will remain unable to compete with surrounding states in attracting and retaining all employees, not just health care workers.
Join the American Heart Association in helping more Mississippians have access to critical health services and ensuring the care they need remains affordable. Together, we can be a relentless force for a world of healthier, longer lives.
Last updated Nov. 11, 2021.