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Islea's Story

Isela has had a couple of accidents that have made things more complicated than they should be. She tried pushing through without help because she didn’t have health insurance. But as the pain and hardships worsened, she started to look for alternative treatments because of the steep costs of hospital bills.

One of Isela’s accidents required her to get medical staples that had to be removed sometime afterward. When she received the bill, the thought of getting more care throughout her healing process went out the window. Isla knew she wouldn’t be able to pay that bill, and because of it, the doctor would refuse to continue her visits without health insurance.

According to Mississippi Today, since 2014, states have had the option to expand Medicaid eligibility to adults, such as Isela, with incomes below 138 percent of the federal poverty level ($18,754 annually for an individual), with the federal government picking up no less than 90 percent of the cost. States have seen significant budget savings from Medicaid expansion because the federal contribution covers individuals and services previously covered with a lower matching rate or unmatched state funds.

The American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA), enacted in early 2021, allows states newly expanding Medicaid to access enhanced federal matching funds for most of their non-expansion Medicaid populations. With the 90 percent matching rate for expansion adults established under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), ARPA strengthens the fiscal case for expansion. It’s a no-brainer for Isela, who sees healthcare as a fundamental human right that no one should be without.

Despite her voice not being heard by doctors, she hopes her story will be heard by others as a testament to the high costs of medical care, making it nearly impossible for those who don’t have health insurance to get the care they need. Isela urges lawmakers to consider extending benefits to those who need them most – needy families and single-parent families. Relieving the pain and suffering of Mississippians who cannot afford to get the care they need is the humane thing to do.