***For Immediate Release***
Tuesday, July 7, 2020
Contact: Magdalena Cazarez
Communications Director, Nebraska Appleseed
C: (402) 504-0074
Nebraskans celebrate at the Countdown to Coverage
After years of waiting, Nebraskans will be able to enroll in Medicaid expansion
LINCOLN, NE – Today, Nebraskans in the coverage gap and health care community advocates kicked off the long-awaited ‘Countdown to Coverage’ summer campaign. After over six years of living without health insurance, 90,000 of our family members, friends, and neighbors will be able to begin enrolling for expanded Medicaid coverage on August 1, 2020, with coverage beginning on October 1, 2020.
Community leader, Madeline Almond, shared her experience being in the coverage gap:
“Medicaid expansion is way more than just covering more people. If you heard their stories, the way that they struggled before it expanded, you can see how much of a relief this is.
This is why I am excited about Medicaid expansion. I can finally get the care in Nebraska that I was looking for when we first came. I can feel comfortable and taken care of in a state that is slowly becoming a second home for my wife and I. I don’t have to choose between breathing and food anymore as I did for the eight months I lived in Lincoln.”
The Health Center Association of Nebraska representative Kenny McMorris issued the following statement:
“The centers served over 115,000 health care patients in 2019, with nearly 70% of patients of a racial/ethnic minority. We’ve always believed that health care is a right and the ability to alleviate barriers to access quality health care, whether in urban or rural communities, is what our community health care centers are about.
At this moment, we have also seen that although only 22% of Nebraska’s population is of racial/ethnic minority, we make up 70% of the confirmed positive COVID-19 cases. We know that minorities are disproportionately impacted as it relates to health disparities, and this virus has only added fuel to the fire.
When we look at this opportunity to expand Medicaid, this will provide a platform for individuals and families to improve their quality of life. Medicaid expansion will be a leg up for many of our families, as individuals are being laid off, and companies are closing. Medicaid expansion will be able to fill this gap.”
Nebraska Appleseed Health Care Access Program Director Molly McCleery issued the following statement:
“Almost two years ago to the day, many of us were together to turn in signatures to put the issue of Medicaid expansion on the 2018 ballot. Since then, Nebraska voters chose a healthier future for our state.
COVID-19 has impacted nearly every aspect of life; yet, in our state’s response to the pandemic, we have left the tool of Medicaid expansion on the table, unused. Between March and May of this year, over 100,000 Nebraskans lost their jobs due to the pandemic and resulting economic downturn. If we were to have expansion today, we also know that an estimated half of those 100,000 Nebraskans would be able to enroll in expansion coverage, in addition to the 90,000 Nebraskans who have been waiting for nearly a decade.
Additionally, the pandemic has exacerbated existing health inequities and has disproportionately harmed Black and Latinx communities. Medicaid expansion provides our state with the opportunity to move one step closer to achieving health equity by removing financial barriers to health care for those that need it most. Expanding access to health coverage will be a huge step forward in the work to reduce racial and ethnic disparities in health care access in our state.”
If you are a community member interested in learning more about Medicaid expansion, please contact our Community Assistance Line at (402) 438-8853 ext 205 or fill out our online form.
The recorded zoom event is available to view and download on Nebraska Appleseed’s Facebook and Vimeo. Interviews are available with the speakers in the panel. Contact Magdalena Cazarez, Nebraska Appleseed communications director, at firstname.lastname@example.org or (402) 504-0074.