When Marcie Kindred was a young mom in Cheyenne, she and her first husband clipped coupons and took extra shifts whenever they could to try and make ends meet. It was never enough.
“I wanted to be a good mother and provide all the opportunities and support to my children that I received from my middle-class upbringing. But we were always a day late and a dollar short. We struggled for over ten years.”
Today, Marcie is a successful real estate agent. She and her husband, who works at the hospital in Cheyenne, just bought their own home, where they are excited to be raising their four sons. She worked hard to get where she is. But she is very clear that hers is not a “bootstraps” story.
“I was able to claw my way out of poverty because we received the help we needed,” she says. She credits programs like Medicaid and food stamps with providing the resources to keep her babies healthy and fed while she was struggling to get ahead. “I have more support than most in my situation. And I still needed that bridge.”
Marcie shared her story with lawmakers as a real-life example of how expanding Medicaid will benefit hardworking Wyomingites. (Watch her compelling testimony here.)
“There are so many people who are doing everything they can to ‘make it’ and are still falling short,” she says. “They’re one broken arm or ER visit away from financial devastation. And it’s not because they’re not working. It’s because their jobs don’t provide health insurance. Or they don’t pay enough that they can buy it themselves.”
Over the next six months, as the legislature continues to consider whether to expand Medicaid to cover 24,000 additional people, Marcie plans to talk to hundreds of Wyomingites who would gain health insurance coverage from expansion. She’ll listen to their lived experiences—and she’ll help turn those experiences into compelling stories to share with lawmakers.
“When my family was struggling, I did not have the capacity to advocate for myself. I was just trying to survive,” she said.
“What a privilege now to collect the stories of Wyoming’s most resilient citizens—the ones who’ll benefit from Medicaid expansion. These are single parents and small business owners. Folks suffering from mental or physical illness. They are our neighbors and friends.”
Throughout 2021, Marcie will help ESPC collect the stories of Wyomingites who will be most affected by expanding Medicaid in our state. If you have a story to share, or know someone who does, please get in touch! (And keep an eye out for the launch of Healthy Wyoming’s story collection site!)