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Final film in ACS CAN's documentary series explores Medicaid coverage gap

You can watch all three films online

The final short film of an award-winning documentary series is giving an in-depth look into the lives of those who have Medicaid health insurance – and those who remain uninsured – in Left Behind: Health and Hope in North Carolina.

The American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) partnered with filmmaker Ky Dickens to produce the mini-documentary series. The final film highlights North Carolinians who fall in the “Medicaid coverage gap” – those who make too much to qualify for Medicaid, but not enough to afford quality health insurance. For the 59,620 North Carolinians who will be diagnosed with cancer in 2020, access to affordable, comprehensive care is essential to detecting, treating, and surviving the disease. 

Left Behind: Health and Hope in North Carolina premiered January 30 at the North Carolina Museum of History in Raleigh. Following the screening, filmmaker Ky Dickens, film subject Richard Horodyski (pictured here), and oncologist Karen Winkfield, MD, participated in a panel discussion. Horodyski, a farmer, highlighted the burden of being uninsured, “Not having health insurance is a serious stressor for me. Shortly after filming, I fell with a chainsaw in my hand. Those are the things you think about when you don’t have insurance.”

Dickens hopes the documentary will inspire change. 

“I want to show that these are people who are doing everything right and they’re frustrated – and their scared that one medical bill is to break their entire livelihood,” she said. “My hope is that these stores can be the start of policy change.” 

Both discussion and event were part of ACS CAN's Medicaid Covers US public education campaign, which creates open dialogue about the role Medicaid plays in communities. The previous film, On The Edge: Health Care in Alabama, focused on the health care challenges faced by rural Alabamians. The first film, Critical Condition: Stories of Health in the Heartland, captured the reality of thousands in Kansas trying to achieve affordable health care. It won several local film festival awards and was part of the April 2019 campaign launch

The Medicaid Covers Us public education campaign is funded by a grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Those interested in watching the entire three-part documentary series or sharing with others can click here. For more information on the public education campaign, click here.  

Congressional briefing on Feb. 6

Improving access to health insurance coverage is a mission priority, and as part of the Medicaid Covers US project and ACS CAN’s ongoing Medicaid advocacy efforts, a congressional briefing will be held this Thursday, Feb. 6, in Washington DC. The briefing will focus on the Medicaid program’s impact on families, communities, and state and local economies. Visit ACS CAN’s Increased Access to Medicaid campaign page and Medicaid Covers US page to learn more about ACS CAN’s work on this issue.

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