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ACS CAN NC volunteer introduces President Biden at local event

ACS CAN North Carolina volunteer Lori Kelley introduced President Joe Biden and shared her personal journey of navigating the Medicaid coverage gap alongside him and Vice President Kamala Harris during a recent Affordable Care Act (ACA) event at the John Chavis Community Center in Raleigh, North Carolina.

Pictured above are: ACS CAN State & Local Outreach Manager Dustin Sergent; ACS CAN North Carolina Volunteer Lori Kelley; and ACS CAN Senior Outreach Manager of State & Local Campaigns Tomica Smith.

The event took place just after the 14th anniversary of the signing of the Affordable Care Act and the first anniversary of the signing of North Carolina Medicaid expansion legislation. ACS CAN played a key role in the passage of both pieces of legislation.

Lori, who is from Harrisburg, North Carolina, was diagnosed in 2008 with a progressive eye disease that limited her ability to function in daily activities, such as driving and going to work. After being locked out of affordable health care for 16 years, she had to delay screenings and receiving medical attention for her health issues.

After North Carolina Medicaid expansion enrollment opened in December 2023, ACS CAN’s State and Local Campaigns Medicaid team ran a statewide Facebook advertisement campaign in North Carolina to collect stories from individuals who successfully enrolled. Lori eagerly responded to one of the ads after wondering if she would qualify for Medicaid expansion. She later applied with confidence and was thrilled to receive a letter stating she was enrolled in Medicaid.

When the White House contacted ACS CAN to inquire if testimonials were available from individuals who were benefiting from Medicaid expansion in North Carolina, Lori’s story was one of many shared with White House personnel and she was later selected to introduce President Biden at the North Carolina ACA event. Lori’s introduction not only set the stage for President Biden’s address, but also served as a powerful testament to the resilience, courage, and determination of individuals like her who continue to advocate tirelessly for access to equitable health care.

“Because of Medicaid expansion and the tireless advocacy work to close the gap, now I don’t have to worry about how I’m going to pay for surgery or the routine care that I need," Lori said. “I have peace of mind now. I know there are millions like me with similar stories. I am truly grateful for the blessing that this is and continues to be for myself and so many others.”

As a mother of three and grandmother of six, Lori's presence on such a significant platform exemplifies the invaluable role of storytelling in advocacy and policymaking. By sharing her personal experience, she not only elevated the conversation surrounding health care reform, but also amplified the voices of countless others who find themselves in similar circumstances.

Visit to watch the ACA event. To learn more about how ACS CAN is working to close the Medicaid coverage gap for all, visit Medicaid Covers US | American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network.
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