6 Ways Medicaid Benefits You

When many of us hear “Medicaid” our brain takes us to a place that may make us think “this doesn’t apply to me” and may sometimes even automatically dismiss its relevance. Afterall, Medicaid is a lifeline that only provides life-saving healthcare to the elderly and extremely low-income members of our community…right?

Believe it or not, Medicaid also benefits you. This is true even if you’re on a group plan through your employer, covered under the ACA, receiving insurance through Medicare, etc. How? Here are some examples:

Medicaid Pays for Nursing Home Care
While it’s not something we like to think about, practically all of us have or will have a grandparent or parent requiring nursing facility services. How much does it cost for 24-hour, 7-day-per-week access to medical care, plus housing and meals? Well, let’s just say you might be able to buy a really nice house for less as these services are quite resource intensive and costly. Our elderly population is oftentimes not only one of our most vulnerable populations but they are often without any financial resources and can not work due to health conditions that are beyond their control. Without Medicaid, you and your family would be shouldered with the massive financial burden of providing nursing home care for your loved ones.  

Medicaid Provides a Safety Net
The fact of the matter is, no matter how secure we might feel, most of us are a layoff, illness, lawsuit, or serious accident away from financial devastation. While you may not need it now, it’s good to know Medicaid (and ObamaCare) is there in your time of need. Without the direly needed Medicaid expansion that irresponsible, uncaring government officials denied years ago there are still thousands of Tennesseans who fall into what’s called the MEDICAID GAP and have absolutely no healthcare coverage. This is yet another thing we can thank Chuck Fleischmann, Senator Lamar Alexander and other government officials for withholding from us. Without Medicaid, you and your family might not have access to healthcare if you faced a significant financial hardship.

Medicaid Keeps Rural Hospitals Open
By law, a hospital must provide emergency care for EVERYONE, regardless of their ability to pay. When a patient doesn’t have the ability to pay, the hospital has to absorb that cost. In the case of rural hospitals, which serve a higher percentage of low-income, oftentimes uninsured patients, these costs can literally force a hospital to close. Thanks to Medicaid, many low income residents have access to health insurance, enabling rural hospitals to get reimbursed for emergency care, in turn helping them keep theirs doors open. Without Medicaid, if you live in a rural area, you’d lose access to lifesaving emergency room care and hospitalization if needed. In addition, your community would lose a significant employer, and your community could miss out on economic development opportunities like new factories and other forms of corporate investment because towns without medical care facilities face difficulty attracting new business. There is also a ripple effect that occurs when a community hospital closes as the care needs of that community and the financial crisis they faced are then transferred to the next neighboring community. Oh, and not to mention, what happens if you and your family were to be involved in a devastating accident on your way to your vacation destination and there is no rural hospital available to help save your life or the life of your child?

Medicaid Provides Access to Preventative Care
The best way to minimize emergency room visits is to provide access to primary care medical providers for you and your family. This is because diseases can be caught early and treated, a higher level of overall health can be achieved, and the expensive “crisis moment” can often be prevented. Thankfully, Medicaid currently covers Early and Periodic Screening, Diagnostic and Treatment Services (EPSDT). Tennessee has some of the most provocative negative disease outcomes of any states in the nation coming in almost dead last in several disease metrics. Without Medicaid, the burden of an avoidable health crisis is placed on our already struggling rural hospitals and clinics, while the overall health and wellbeing of you and your family and community is damaged. This places more unnecessary economic stress on our society as a whole.

Medicaid Provides Rural Health Clinic Services
In addition to hospitals, rural health clinics provide vital care. Supporting rural health clinics provides all the benefits listed above, including lessening the burden on our rural hospitals, improving the overall health of our communities through preventative medicine strategies, and provides jobs to your community. Without Medicaid, your access to medical personnel and clinics in rural areas would be greatly reduced and you or someone you know may lose their job.

Medicaid Provides Transportation to Medical Care
In a rural area, one inherent obstacle to receiving care is the distance to a hospital. Fortunately, private companies have set up networks for remote ambulance and EMT service. And while the system has many shortcomings and many of these companies are struggling, Medicaid does at least pay for a portion of medical transport costs, helping to keep these companies in business. Not only do we need to support these companies who serve rural communities by continuing Medicaid funding but we need to make sure the funding is not gutted and ensure fair and reasonable reimbursement rates. Without Medicaid, there is a greater chance you might one day have to drive yourself to the emergency room or remain trapped in your crashed vehicle alongside a rural road because there is no EMS service available to save you.

As you can see, Medicaid is a lifeline and provides many vital services for you and your community, both in terms of federally-required services, and optional services provided at the discretion of each state. You can learn the specifics here.

Tennessee is struggling to provide these Medicaid lifelines thanks to corrupt politicians like Representative Chuck Fleischmann and Senator Lamar Alexander. Tennessee is one of only 19 states to turn down the medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act and they both voiced their opposition to it.

The results of Chuck Fleischmann and Lamar Alexander’s unconscionable actions?

  • Between 2010 and 2016, eight rural Tennessee hospitals have closed.
  • 162,000 Tennesseans have no healthcare coverage in the Medicaid gap
  • The proposed repeal of the ACA and related cuts could put an additional 43% of Tennessee’s remaining rural hospitals at risk of closing.

Now…shall we talk about how Medicaid helps pregnant women and children and the economic consequences of stripping coverage for these populations?

I pledge to protect you, your family, and will protect our healthcare rights.

Dr. Danielle Mitchell

“It’s time to elect government officials who are TRAINED to CARE for you.”

#HealthCareForAll @dmmd4tncongress