Hunter and daughter Persephone “PK” can be seen on Zoom chats, Facebook Live videos, and People’s Action presentations thanks to Hunter’s continued advocacy efforts for health care for all. As someone who has used Medicaid, public housing, and SNAP during a few years in their adult life, Hunter understands the need and vital support the social safety net programs provide for many West Virginians and Appalachians.

Growing up, and just for a bit of their adult life, Hunter had private health insurance and then was covered through the state health insurance program when they were employed by the state. Then during a transition period occupationally, Hunter was able to find a more active role in the community with a local nonprofit helping with youth development programming. Working another part time job to bring in more money crossed Hunter’s mind every month because it was financially difficult for the family to live on the income of a nonprofit employee salary. But as a single parent, Hunter had to prioritize the health of the family and had to weigh the benefits of having more income or losing Medicaid coverage and support.

“If I didn’t have Medicaid, I would carry that weight on my shoulders every day, making me more stressed out, more likely to get sick, and I couldn’t afford hundreds of dollars a month for private health care coverage. I’m really grateful that Medicaid has helped me through this time in my life and my daughter’s life.”

Hunter went on in their interview during the Health Care for All 2020 Virtual Conference mentioning without Medicaid, they “would have made it work, utilizing free clinics” to get care. During this interactive summit, Dr. Matt Christensen spoke on his role as a Medical Director for a free clinic in the state of West Virginia. Just like Hunter had mentioned, Dr. Christensen agreed and said, “A lot of people just give up because of the costs of health care.”

Without Medicaid, Hunter, like many other West Virginians, might not have sought out health care which helped their family grow strong and healthy.

Thank you to our partners at West Virginians for Affordable Health Care.