NAACP writes a letter to lawmakers requesting better access to healthcare for African Americans

Updated: Apr. 20, 2020 at 9:57 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - The Albemarle-Charlottesville chapter of the NAACP is calling on Governor Ralph Northam to ensure African Americans have equal access to healthcare.

The group wrote a letter to Governor Northam and other lawmakers requesting them to waive the initial eligibility requirements for Medicaid to provide better access to care.

“We have the opportunity to improve something given that we’re in this disaster circumstance, why can’t we correct some past problems,” NAACP Vice President Gregg Winston said.

Data from the Virginia Department of Health shows African Americans make up more than 30% of cases reported, but they only make up 20% of Virginia's population.

“We're asking the governor to waive the initial enrollment requirements and move forward what we can presumptive eligibility. That means we use the information that's in the tax records to determine who's actually eligible and that they be automatically enrolled,” Winston said.

The chapter says Northam has the opportunity to eliminate a backlog of applications and a lengthy wait period that could turn deadly, while also establishing a policy that will address inequity and improve the health of all Virginians.

“So why not use that information to move forward and let people enroll without putting the requirement that the go through a formal application process that’s cumbersome and denies people access to care,” Winston said.

The NAACP sent the letter to Northam on Friday and hopes lawmakers will jump on board with this idea to help the current situation.

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