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Southerners in Eight States Unite to Fight for Medicaid Expansion

Southerners in eight non-expansion states are uniting for the first time ever, to demand affordable healthcare for our essential workers, communities of color and rural hospitals. The country faces the worst public health crisis in modern history, and Oklahoma and Missouri have recently sparked new energy in support of Medicaid expansion by accepting it through ballot initiative.

As a member of the Southerners for Medicaid Expansion coalition, the Tennessee Justice Center is hosting a Southern Storyteller Spotlight interview on Thursday, September 3rd at 11 am CT/12 pm ET. The  Spotlight will feature Jacquelyn S. Favours, MPH. Jacquelyn is the Director of Community Engagement of Health Leads.

Advocates from Tennessee will be joined by their coalition partners from Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, North Carolina, Texas and South Carolina to uplift the voices and experiences of southerners who have been impacted by our states’ refusal to expand Medicaid.

You can learn more about the Southerners for Medicaid Expansion coalition at our new website We also have a joint petition to demand Medicaid expansion in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, North Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and South Carolina.

Every Thursday leading up to October 1, a different state will feature a unique voice in the Southern Storyteller Spotlight to share how the denial of Medicaid expansion has impacted their residents, led to rural hospital closures and exacerbated health disparities.

The Southern Storyteller Spotlight series will culminate on October 1 when candlelight vigils will take place simultaneously throughout the South in an action of solidarity and remembrance to honor the lives of people who are suffering from the denial of healthcare access during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“With over 1.5 million cases of COVID-19 and 56 rural hospital closures since 2014, expanding Medicaid would allow nearly 7.5 million people who are uninsured to gain coverage in these eight states that have denied healthcare access to their residents for far too long.” Kinika Young, Senior Director of Health Policy and Advocacy said. “There has never been a more dire moment for the Southerners for Medicaid Expansion coalition to unite and fight for our people.”

Tennessee’s Southern Storyteller Spotlight will be broadcast on Facebook Live.