Closing the Medicaid Coverage Gap: Latinx Community Inclusion
Durham, North Carolina – Latinos in the South, a program of the Latino Commission on AIDS, is pleased to announce that it will move forward on its new project Pasa la Voz: Latinx Community Inclusion in Medicaid Expansion thanks to $100,000 in new grant funding from the Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust, located in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.
Pasa la Voz will increase Latinx/Hispanic visibility and participation at stakeholder tables through organizing and education for Medicaid expansion in North Carolina. Efforts are already underway as staff and community advocates from across the state attend HIV Speaks on Jones Street on June 1. The annual state HIV Advocacy Day at the NC legislature is hosted by NC AIDS Action Network and will include Medicaid expansion outreach.
Joaquín Carcaño, Director of Southern Health Policy at the Latino Commission on AIDS, commented, “With the prospect of Medicaid expansion gaining traction, we are grateful for the opportunity to help bridge the Latinx community to this arena of healthcare advocacy, contribute to the established foundation of work, and aid in making this long overdue coverage and its many benefits a reality for our Latinx community and those living with HIV.”
According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, 14% of uninsured Hispanic adults in North Carolina would become eligible for health care coverage should Medicaid expand. As many Latinx families are often mixed-status, increased coverage and access to healthcare for a single-family member would have untold positive ripple effects upon the rest of the family unit, especially for individuals living with HIV.
In states that have expanded Medicaid, in comparison to non-expansion states, the use of PrEP to prevent HIV transmission saw significant increases along with expanded HIV testing options. More individuals living with HIV were able to access comprehensive Medicaid coverage, and HIV mortality rates and new HIV cases saw declines - all crucial pieces of the Federal Ending the HIV Epidemic plan.
Pasa la Voz will amplify the voices of the Latinx/Hispanic community to address the realities of mixed-status families, language accessibility needs, and community inclusion in decisions of design and resource distribution as part of the Medicaid expansion process. Through town halls, community engagement events, and media trainings Pasa la Voz will offer skills, knowledge, and resources so that Latinx/Hispanic community members are more equipped and empowered to combat the inequities in healthcare policy and be directly involved and uplifted in coalition work. Efforts for Pasa la Voz will continue through April 2023.