Working America Members Fighting for Medicaid Expansion in NC
At the end of February, Jim and Ann Lake traveled to Raleigh, North Carolina, with other Working America members to their show support for Medicaid Expansion Advocacy Day.
They, along with hundreds of others, joined together to tell their lawmakers to close the health insurance coverage gap by expanding Medicaid during the 2019 legislative session. A half-million North Carolinians regularly can’t afford care for preventable and treatable illnesses or need to decide between filling a prescription and paying bills.
Jim and Ann wrote letters to their state representative explaining why they think Medicaid expansion is critical.
For Jim, this fight is personal. He broke his back falling from a ladder in 2011, but did not have health insurance because he was unemployed and couldn’t afford coverage. The medical debt ruined his credit. It wasn’t until he qualified for Medicaid and Medicare that he was able to get a personal care provider.
Ann highlighted in her letter how Medicaid expansion would bring both health and economic benefits to the state. “Medicaid expansion would provide 13,000 new jobs in rural counties,” Ann explained in her letter to her representative.
Although frustrated by their state representative (who hasn’t yet endorsed expanding Medicaid), the Lakes remain optimistic. “There were a lot of people there this year,” Ann said. “Everyone looked like they were charged up and eager!” Jim agreed and highlighted how the Medicaid Expansion Advocacy Day press conference was packed with patients, health care providers, community-based organizations and advocates.
Fighting for working-class families is very important to Jim and Ann. Through Working America, Jim said he realized, “We are not alone.” Ann chimed in, “The positive of advocacy groups like Working America is that people are much more aware. And that’s the first step to any action.”
Jim and Ann Lake have been Working America members since 2012.