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    If you have the pleasure of visiting the Pilsen neighborhood in Chicago, you will experience a historical neighborhood of Mexican art, culture, family-owned businesses, and a vibrant social scene for young adults. The people in Pilsen know that what benefits one of us benefits us all. At the Economic Strategies Development Corporation (ESDC), we are dedicated to creating and supporting economic vitality through education initiatives and support for local businesses. We are all integral parts of our community, our economy, and our society. We are in it together.

    This community mindset comes with a deep appreciation for programs like Medicaid managed care, that serve so many in Pilsen and the surrounding communities. Medicaid managed care provides its enrollees, many of whom come from traditionally underserved communities, with all the tools someone needs to get and stay healthy. These benefits include but are not limited to full coverage for primary care, dental and vision, and preventative services.

    Medicaid managed care increases health coverage which in turn increases utilization of that coverage— creating a healthier community on all fronts. It’s important to support programs such as Medicaid managed care to ensure that our neighbors, especially the most vulnerable ones, continue to receive the vital health care needed to live and prosper.

    Through our deep-rooted community work, we have seen firsthand the impact of this program. Here at ESDC we take a holistic approach to economic development similar to the holistic approach that Medicaid managed care takes for an enrollee’s health. We believe this approach is vital to bring about positive outcomes. Medicaid managed care understands the importance of addressing the social determinants of health such as housing stability, nutrition assistance, and transportation to medical appointments, as important factors to address in an enrollee’s care. Because of Medicaid managed care the families in our community are able to stay healthy and participate in our economy, making our entire society stronger. We believe in the idea that a rising tide lifts all boats and we see how Medicaid managed care is the tide that lifts our communal boat.

    As we seek to create vibrant communities that work for us all we must address the health inequities that exist. These inequities are especially prevalent in neighborhoods like Pilsen with a high minority population. Medicaid managed care addresses these health inequities by approaching care with a diversity informed approach, understanding that someone’s background and perspective might create barriers to receiving care.

    The program offers additional benefits to address the challenges that some populations face when it comes to accessing care. For example, the program offers transportation to hospitals or clinics, home health services, and housing assistance. And for the large population of Pilsen neighbors who are Hispanic, Medicaid managed care’s benefits for bridging language barriers are vital for people to receive care.

    Pilsen is a vibrant and dynamic community that exists because of the brilliant artists, musicians, business owners, and neighbors that fill our streets. At ESDC we are so proud of our community and the people we serve. Every day, people in our neighborhood are making a difference through their respective ambitions and goals. Whether it’s a new coffee shop, an after-school program, a worship center, or more, every new venture adds something special to our Pilsen neighborhood.

    We couldn’t be who are though, without the support of programs such as Medicaid managed care that keeps our neighborhood healthy.

    Alex Esparza serves as President of the Economic Strategies Development Corporation. ESDC if focused on holistically enhance the socioeconomic wellbeing of communities, businesses and individual throughout the Pilsen community.

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