An excerpt of Malika's comments:
Look at a map of which states have decided to expand Medicaid by raising household income eligibility to 138% of the federal poverty level, and you’ll see the Southeast cordoned off like a big block of “no.” Legislatures and governors there have taken advantage of the Supreme Court’s ruling last year that this aspect of the ACA should be left up to state decision makers and can’t be mandated by the federal government. But many of these politicians are acting against the will of their constituents, as poll results released this summer revealed.
Malika Redmond, executive director of SPARK Reproductive Justice NOW, is one such constituent. Last month, she stood outside the Georgia State Capitol along with representatives from the Atlanta chapter of the National Domestic Workers Alliance and demanded that Republican Governor Nathan Deal reverse his position and agree to expand Medicaid.
Redmond’s reproductive justice work puts her in touch primarily with LGBTQ youth of color between the ages of 18 and 25 and with black women. She says these populations struggle to find secure jobs and that inconsistent income makes it hard to commit to a premium( or monthly payment on a health plan), even with the government subsidies that will be available under the new system.
“What happens if you lose your job? What happens if you’re in a plan but now you can’t afford that plan? In a state like Georgia, it’s just too bad,” Redmond said. “Medicaid expansion is the only safety net. It’s the only piece that allows for the fact that people’s lives fluctuate, and sometimes they’re employed and sometimes they’re not."
The one Southern governor who’s gone on record as sharing Redmond’s way of thinking is Democrat Steve Beshear of Kentucky, whose op-ed in The New York Times last week explained why his state will make Medicaid more widely available. If you’re interested in watching how things unfold in Southern states with obstructionist leadership, keep one eye on Kentucky as a point of comparison.Read the full article here.
Echoing Ida is a Strong Families project that uplifts the voices of Black women in the reproductive and social justice movements. Our writers have been published in online media outlets as part of our campaign to provide historical, critical, and candid perspectives on health care just as the Affordable Care Act is rolling out.