As we celebrate Alabama’s workforce on Labor Day, here’s a fact that deserves special attention: More than 100,000 Alabamians are working without health insurance. They work in child care, construction, food services and other vital jobs. They’re the folks who keep things going.
Yet they’re trapped in the health coverage gap. They can’t afford employer-based coverage or private insurance. And they earn too much to qualify for Medicaid. As a result, many struggle with health problems that sap productivity, add household stress and get worse without timely care.
Here are the jobs employing the most working women in Alabama’s coverage gap:
And here are the jobs employing the most working men in Alabama’s coverage gap:
Think about the importance of these lines of work. Then think about what access to regular health care would mean in the lives of these workers and their families.
Across the country, 36 states have closed their coverage gaps, but Alabama is lagging behind. What’s holding us back?
Lack of awareness plays a part. As folks go about their daily activities, they rarely stop to wonder who has health insurance and who doesn’t. It’s not something most people talk about – but it should be. Helping state leaders understand the real people who will benefit most from expanding coverage is an important step toward change.
Our entire state would benefit from Medicaid expansion. Broader access to regular care would improve the health of working families. Healthier families would mean higher productivity at work and better learning at school. And the additional federal funding would strengthen our health system and create jobs.
All these gains would spell a brighter future for Alabama. It’s time to expand Medicaid and make health coverage affordable for the workers we all depend on every day.