Personal stories highlight need to expand Medicaid in Missouri

By Crystal Brigman Mahaney, statewide grassroots organizer, Missouri Health Care for All

“Health insurance has given me peace of mind and I don’t have to worry about whether I’ll be able to eat or afford health insurance” - Abby

Missouri Health Care for All (MHCFA) is a grassroots movement working to ensure every Missourian has access to quality, affordable health care regardless of where they live or how much money they make. The best way to show the importance of health care in real lives is through personal stories.

Cut away the politics and health care is about real people’s lives. We share the stories of those who are affected by the health policy issues facing our state. From gaining health insurance for the first time in years or falling into the Coverage Gap until we expand Medicaid, these important stories are all around us.

Jamie falls into the coverage gap, making too much for to qualify for Medicaid, but not enough to afford health insurance. View her story here.

We find stories through our grassroots organizers, coalition partners, dedicated health insurance assisters, friends and volunteers. We partner with Saint Louis University Law School and their trained students to conduct story interviews and begin to engage these storytellers.

These voices carry on the work and message in many ways, including through:

  • Quotes and summaries shared online
  • Letters to the Editor & media interviews
  • Speaking at press conferences and local events
  • Traveling to the state capitol to share personal stories with legislators

We recently held a Day of Action at the Missouri Capitol to focus on the personal stories of those in the Coverage Gap. The day began with our storytellers being introduced as special guests of their legislators on the House and Senate floor, continued with the delivery of our Coverage Gap story books, and commenced with a press conference featuring those who will benefit from Medicaid Expansion. The day was filled with emotion and passion. Most moving for me was seeing and hearing how inspired our storytellers were by the 150 supporters who rallied alongside them.

Before they shared their stories with us, many did not think their voice mattered or that they even had a story to tell. Being asked to tell their story, join us at events, and seeing the many advocates and supporters working for better access to health care has lifted their hope for the future.

Now is always the time to act. Share your health story with us here or email . Your voice and the voices of our coworkers, clients, and neighbors are valuable. They are the key to changing hearts and minds. Our stories allow us to cut through politics and focus on our shared, core values. Speak up and join us today.

You can view our latest collection of Coverage Gap stories and Marketplace Enrollment stories, hosted by Cover Missouri.



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HCF's Local Health Buzz Blog aims to discuss health and health policy issues that impact the uninsured and underserved in our service area. To submit a blog, please contact HCF Communications Officers, Jennifer Sykes, at



About Bridget's Blog

Bridget McCandless

Bridget McCandless, MD, MBA, FACP, HCF President/CEO

Bridget McCandless is the President/CEO of the Health Care Foundation of Greater Kansas City and is a Board Certified Internal Medicine Specialist with an interest in chronic disease management and poverty medicine. She shares her thoughts and perspectives on health and policy issues that impact the health of the community as a whole.

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