CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The personal stories of West Virginians insured through Medicaid and some of the health care providers who treat them are included in the latest digital storybook now out from Appalachians for Medicaid.
“We really just want to elevate what an important program it is for so many folks in Appalachia,” said Dr. Jessica Ice, executive director of West Virginians for Affordable Health Care.
The Mountain State stories - https://appalachiansformedicaid.org/story_region/west-virginia/ - come from a single mother and her daughter, a mother who gave birth during COVID-19 and a son who returned to West Virginia to care for his ailing mother among others.
Stories were also submitted from parts of Kentucky, Tennessee and Ohio to highlight how Medicaid improves lives and communities.
Those with West Virginians for Affordable Health Care joined with Kentucky Voices for Health, the Tennessee Health Care Campaign, UHCAN Ohio and Community Catalyst for the project.
“We always have to defend Medicaid,” said Ice.
Of particular concern to Ice and other health advocates like her were discussions at the State Capitol ahead of the 2021 Regular Legislative Session about the possibility of reducing or fully eliminating the state’s personal income taxes.
Ice estimated more than 500,000 West Virginians have health care coverage through Medicaid which covers people with low incomes, children, pregnant women, older adults and people with disabilities.
During the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, Ice called Medicaid a “critical tool” for providing COVID-19 testing and treatment services.
“It is important for us, when a third of our neighbors rely on Medicaid for their health insurance, to protect it from the threats that have been coming down over the years,” said Ice.