Commentary

How we ought to honor mothers this weekend

As a mother and also a daughter, each year I try to think of something unique that will celebrate my deserving mother and friend. As a health care advocate engaging communities and policymakers, today I’m thinking of the mothers in our state who have serious health care access and coverage concerns.

This week in Greenville, I listened to a mother explain how health coverage and services through Medicaid provide care to her daughter with special needs. Medicaid is a “life support” to their family, enabling her to work. I also heard one daughter’s story about her mother’s ineligibility for Medicaid, as her income falls a few thousand dollars over the limit, and how being uninsured has had devastating consequences for her health.

Last week, the U.S. House voted for the American Health Care Act (aka “Trumpcare”), a bill that would snatch away coverage, benefits, and protections from Americans and revive discriminatory health insurance practices. Among many others, this bill dishonors mothers.

I regularly meet mothers who earn low to moderate incomes as professional caregivers so the rest of us can enjoy peace of mind knowing that our children and our elderly are receiving quality care.

For these caregivers and other hard workers who’ve fallen into the Medicaid Coverage Gap, we can close the gap. Medicaid coverage provides essential health care services for women of all ages, from maternity care that promotes maternal and child health, to long-term care services for older adults and people with disabilities. In addition, children who access regular health care typically realize better long-term health and academic and career achievement.

As we celebrate Mother’s Day this weekend, let’s work together to honor mothers with expanding access through coverage for all.

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