Discussions with Decision Makers: Rep. Kenyatté Hassell

Kenyatté Hassell is a member of the Alabama House of Representatives, representing District 78 in Montgomery. He assumed office on September 8, 2021.

Kenyatté Hassell was born in Montgomery, Alabama. Hassell’s career experience includes working as the urban director of Young Life of Montgomery, the manager of Heritage Barbershop, and the campaign manager and a strategist for Alabama state legislator Kirk Hatcher.

What first prompted you to consider running for office?

There were a few factors that first prompted me to consider running for office. One of the main reasons was a deep desire to make a positive impact in my community and address the pressing issues facing our society. I saw a need for change and felt compelled to step up and be a voice for those who may not have one. Additionally, I was inspired by Senator Hatcher who were already serving in an elected position and making a difference in the communities. His dedication and commitment to public service motivated me to take action and contribute in a meaningful way. Ultimately, I felt a strong sense of responsibility to use my skills, experience, and passion to help create a better future for all members of my community. This drive and determination were the driving force behind my decision to run for office.

What are some of your legislative priorities?

Some of my legislative priorities include expanding voting rights to ensure that every eligible citizen has access to the ballot box and can participate in our democracy. I believe that voting is a fundamental right that should be protected and expanded, not restricted. Additionally, I am committed to improving our healthcare system in Alabama by making it more efficient and accessible to all citizens. This includes working to provide better access to nonemergency transport for patients to get to their doctor appointments, as well as expanding Medicare coverage to ensure that all Alabamians have access to quality healthcare. Furthermore, I am dedicated to addressing the lack of adequate medical facilities in rural areas of our state. I believe that all citizens, regardless of their location, deserve access to quality healthcare services. By adding medical facilities to underserved rural areas, we can improve health outcomes and ensure that all residents have access to the care they need. These legislative priorities reflect my commitment to creating a more just, equitable, and healthy society for all residents of Alabama. I will work tirelessly to advocate for these issues and implement policies that will benefit our communities and improve the lives of our citizens.

What do you think people understand the least about our health care system?

One aspect of the healthcare system that I believe people understand the least is the complex and often confusing nature of healthcare billing and insurance coverage. Many individuals may not fully grasp how healthcare costs are determined, how insurance plans work, and what their rights and responsibilities are as patients. Additionally, there is often a lack of understanding about the disparities and inequalities that exist within our healthcare system. Many people may not realize the extent to which factors such as income, race, and geography can impact access to care and health outcomes. This lack of awareness can lead to misconceptions and to maintain systemic barriers to healthcare access. Furthermore, the role of healthcare providers and the various stakeholders involved in the healthcare system may also be misunderstood.  People may not fully understand the different types of healthcare professionals, the services they provide, and how healthcare organizations operate. Overall, I believe that increasing education and awareness about the complexities of the healthcare system is crucial in order to empower individuals to make informed decisions about their health and advocate for positive change within the system. It is essential for all citizens to have a better understanding of how healthcare works in order to navigate the system effectively and ensure that all individuals have access to quality care.

How can the Medical Association – and physicians statewide – help you address Alabama’s health challenges?

The Medical Association and physicians statewide can play a crucial role in addressing Alabama’s health challenges by advocating for the expansion of Medicaid. Medicaid expansion has the potential to significantly improve access to healthcare for thousands of uninsured and low-income individuals in our state, leading to better health outcomes and reduced healthcare disparities. Physicians are on the front lines of healthcare delivery and witness firsthand the impact of lack of insurance coverage on patients’ health. By leveraging their expertise and influence, physicians can advocate for Medicaid expansion to ensure that all Alabamians have access to the care they need. The Medical Association can support this effort by engaging with legislators, policymakers, and community stakeholders to educate them about the benefits of Medicaid expansion and the positive impact it can have on public health. By mobilizing their membership and collaborating with other healthcare organizations, the Medical Association can help build a strong coalition in support of expanding Medicaid in Alabama. Additionally, physicians can use their voices and platforms to raise awareness about the importance of Medicaid expansion and its potential to improve health outcomes for vulnerable populations. By sharing their experiences and insights, physicians can help build public support for expanding Medicaid and advocate for policies that prioritize the health and well-being of all Alabamians. The Medical Association and physicians statewide have a unique opportunity to make a meaningful impact on addressing Alabama’s health challenges by advocating for Medicaid expansion. By working together and leveraging their collective expertise, they can help create a healthcare system that is more equitable, accessible, and responsive to the needs of all residents in our state.

What is the one thing you would like to say to physicians in your district?

Thank you for your hard work in general, especially during the Covid-19 crisis. I know the hospitals have not fully recovered from this epidemic, but I will continue to fight for our physicians and hospitals throughout the district and the state of Alabama. Your dedication and commitment to providing quality care to our community are truly appreciated, and I will work tirelessly to support you in your important work.

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