Ramira Perez has made Mississippi her home. She immigrated to the state sixteen years ago and has built a strong foundation. She’s ingrained herself into the local community, adding two more bundles of joy, now the mother of four children.
Although she’s done her best to make Mississippi feel comfortable, not having health insurance has made it difficult for Ramira to live the life she imagined when she first relocated. Ramira suffered from high blood pressure and was diagnosed with diabetes.
Ramira’s blood pressure is a significant concern. It tends to rise to dangerous levels that send her to the emergency room. This condition caused her last pregnancy to be high-risk. Emergency room visits are the most expensive, but community clinics are cheap. Even the facilities for lower-income families can be problematic to afford.
She knows a bill is coming for every clinic, doctor, and emergency room visit she makes. It’s difficult for Ramira to relax in the hospital as she anticipates each dollar that adds up. The bills seem to continuously come in what feels like a never-ending chain.
In 2019, Mississippi had the fifth-highest uninsured rate in the country. Mississippi Today recently reported nearly one in five residents live in poverty. Mississippi’s healthcare system also ranks last among all states across various measures of access to healthcare, quality of care, healthcare utilization, cost of care, health outcomes, and income-based healthcare disparities.
Ramira is unemployed and does all she can to avoid having to make those trips. She tries to manage her health using the traditional medicines of her home country, making herbal infusions to keep her diabetes and blood pressure at low levels. As she struggles to self-medicate, she feels alone and forgotten. It’s as if Ramira and her community mean nothing to legislators. They don’t care about her and her community.