I’ve been working on farms in the Flathead for four years. Working in agriculture, I have never been offered health care through my employer. The farm owners I worked for most recently did encourage all their farmhands to apply for Medicaid or health care through the Affordable Care Act if they don’t already have health insurance. They have in the past paid for tetanus shots out of their pocket for employees and help them navigate the system to secure affordable health care. This is unusual in part-time/seasonal work. Most employers can’t afford to help pay for their employees’ health care needs or help them secure their own health care.
Medicaid expansion has provided me valuable health coverage while I have been farming and working seasonally. Through my Medicaid coverage, I was able to cover the gap between my prior health insurance through an AmeriCorps program and the coverage I later received through the ACA. I was able to have regular checkups that I would have otherwise skipped and I was able to afford the physical therapy visits I needed in recovering from a shoulder injury. I ask my Montana legislators to continue Medicaid expansion. Health coverage is so important, especially for those of us whose physical health is necessary for our work and who work outside, seasonally, and in more rural areas of the state. I am proud of what I do for a living. I love it. And I need to be healthy and strong to do it. I don’t want to be punished for my work that doesn’t offer insurance coverage. Work and reporting requirements will only kick people off of their health care and leave seasonal workers with less financially certain futures. Keep Medicaid expansion – ditch the punitive changes that would only hurt workers like me.