Editor: Closing the Medicaid coverage gap is the number one thing Congress could do right now to address health care disparities. This is critical to continuing to address the ongoing pandemic, but also to improving maternal health. August is “National Breastfeeding Month.” Many health programs provide support to new parents to help them to breast or chest feed recognizing the important health benefits.

There are many challenges to being able to nurse from breaks during work to being able to afford nutritional supplements and lactation support. Expanding Medicaid to ensure more people can get basic health care is an important first step. We have seen the benefit of expanding Medicaid in Colorado. It is time to build on this progress nationwide.

The Medicaid Saves Lives Act would provide an alternative for people to access coverage through the federal government. Millions of people have been locked out of coverage for the last decade, despite the positive impact of Medicaid on health outcomes and economic security and proven success in other states.

Two-thirds of people in the coverage gap are low income workers and two thirds are people of color. I hope people will urge me in pushing lawmakers to do more to close coverage gaps, lower prescription drug prices and make sure we can all afford the services we need to get and stay healthy, to live with dignity and to help new parents to heal and care for themselves and their children.

Brenda Negrete, via letters@sentinelcolorado.com