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Healthcare Coverage in the Southwest by Christian Henry, RHEC VI Emerging Professional

posted Aug 28, 2018, 9:39 AM by daniel yoo   [ updated Aug 28, 2018, 9:45 AM ]
Since the inauguration of the recent administration, the subject of healthcare coverage has received an increasing amount of attention among media circulation. With several Americans unhappy with insurance options under the Affordable Care Act, many were hoping for solutions from a new healthcare bill. In 2017, the American Health Care Act was passed as a fiscal redirection program to alleviate the increased premiums that many Americans faced and hopefully to provide other insurance options.[1] One way in which this alleviation is accomplished is by allowing states to opt out of Medicaid expansion, which increases the proportion of residents in each state who would be covered under Medicaid. This decreases the state’s financial contribution towards health care but can impact those in lower-income categories still not covered by Medicaid.

The Southwest Region comprises New Mexico, Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, and Louisiana. Only Texas and Oklahoma have decided to not expand Medicaid coverage[2], which can limit several residents in these states on options for accessing healthcare services. However, in the other three states, there may be residents who are eligible for Medicaid who are not taking advantage of the service. One of the goals of the Region VI Health Equity Council is to provide community members with information on qualifications for Medicaid and how to access eligible healthcare services. With changes in public policy due to state elections, it is important to keep residents in each state informed of their current Medicaid status and how to access services in their area.

Throughout the Southwest, programs have been held throughout the summer that offer affordable healthcare services. For example, in Louisiana, Healthy Louisiana provides healthcare services for those who are covered under Medicaid expansion. In all of the region’s states, events have provided affordable health services such as free HIV testing and vaccinations for school-age children and adolescents; these offset the costs of necessary services for families that may not be able to afford them. Beyond informing residents of health events, RHEC VI also wants to inform people how to access healthcare services and where to learn about their Medicaid status.

If you have any questions about your qualifications for Medicaid or CHIP and whether or not your state is considered to be an expansion state, please visit the federal healthcare website at https://www.healthcare.gov/medicaid-chip/getting-medicaid-chip/.

[1] https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-39233010
[2] https://familiesusa.org/product/50-state-look-medicaid-expansion
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