Catching up with our health care storytellers

By Marissa Alcantar | June 6, 2020

As the Alliance for a Healthy Kansas’ storybank fellow, my job for the past year has been seeking out uninsured Kansans and learning about their experiences with our health care system. With the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, I wanted to check in with some of the storytellers I have met along the way. My goal was to see how they are doing in the midst of the pandemic and to get their thoughts on how Medicaid expansion can help them with this health crisis. Storytellers Jessica, of Lawrence, and David, of Wichita, sat down with me to express their concerns over the spreading of COVID-19 and how Medicaid expansion is a necessity to uninsured Kansans. Here’s what I heard from them.

Jessica and David both expressed similar views on the spreading of the pandemic. Both were not too concerned about COVID-19, but as cases reached closer to their homes they became more worried. Jessica struggled with her husband losing hours at his job. With less income, their family struggles even more financially than before. This limits Jessica’s ability to access treatment for her mental health, which she has struggled with and explained to me the first time I spoke with her. As the pandemic set in, she suffered a breakdown, and her anxiety and depression escalated. Because she’s uninsured, she already has trouble accessing a doctor or therapy with regularity. Now, with the pandemic, Jessica worries even more about getting the care she needs.

David also has struggled with the onset of COVID-19. He recently moved from his daughter’s house and now lives with some friends. He too has struggled with getting access to care for his health conditions and he worries about the blood test he needs. The quarantine has caused more stress on him, especially without access to insurance. He wonders how he would be able to get treatment should he need to go to the hospital because of the spreading pandemic.

Jessica and David both agree that Medicaid expansion would help them and others in Kansas. With the pandemic, they need access to care now more than ever. Their health is threatened more without access to insurance and a spreading pandemic that is in the state.

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