Access to care: A responsibility of us all

Letters to the editor

HealthCare.gov website showcasing Michigan’s staterun health insurance exchange is open for business. For consumers without health insurance, the time to act is now to choose the insurance that makes the most sense for them as open enrollment closes December 15.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the uninsured rate dropped during the first quarter of this year, falling to 8.8 percent from 9.1 percent in 2017. It is a national and moral imperative that we keep those percentages moving down. You owe it to yourselves and your community to protect yourselves from the cost, and more importantly the potential devastating impact of unexpected illness.

Michigan’s highly successful Healthy Michigan Plan (www.michigan.gov/healthymiplan) provides coverage for slightly less than 670,000 beneficiaries. Three states – Idaho, Nebraska and Utah – approved Medicaid expansion during the recent midterm elections, supporting the extension of healthcare coverage to more than 300,000 individuals in those states. This demonstrates the electorate believes in the importance of helping those at the lower end of the income spectrum obtain coverage. Sixty percent of working-age, non-disabled Medicaid enrollees work, and nearly 8 in 10 Medicaid recipients live in families with at least one worker. Health coverage helps those workers heal and return to the jobs they hold, which allows them to contribute to Medicare, Social Security and our federal and state tax coffers.

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) continues to extend coverage to the uninsured and make coverage more secure for those who have health insurance. Subsidies and cost sharing assistance continue to be available to those who qualify. At Ascension, we remain committed to 100 percent access and 100 percent coverage in the communities we serve as we deliver on our Mission to provide compassionate, personalized care to all. Caregivers at our more than 2,600 sites of care across Ascension have seen more people than ever before receive the care they need, with fewer struggling to pay for it.

Healthcare coverage increases individual and family security; helps workers stay healthy; and provides opportunity to those who are most vulnerable. As a healthcare community, promoting health and wellness is central to what we do. If you don’t currently have insurance coverage, please go to Healthcare.gov and sign up for the plan that is right for you.

– Sean Gehle, Chief Advocacy Officer

– Ascension Michigan

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