Activists from eight Southern states have formed a new coalition to urge Medicaid expansion.

Of the 12 states that have not expanded Medicaid since the passage of the 2010 Affordable Care Act, eight are in the South. Nine out of 10 people who fall in the so-called “coverage gap” — people who do not qualify for Medicaid but do not make enough money to pay for private health insurance —live in the South. At least 7 million Southerners fall into the coverage gap.

Southerners for Medicaid Expansion is planning a series of events to raise awareness, culminating in an October 1 candlelight vigil to remember “the people who have died and those who continue to suffer from the denial of affordable healthcare.”

On the Reckon Interview Live, we spoke with Robyn Hyden, executive director of Alabama Arise, a nonprofit focused on poverty-related issues, about the case for expanding Medicaid in the South.

Hyden stressed that Medicaid expansion has bipartisan support from voters, even if politicians have delayed action. Medicaid expansion would be an economic boon for states like Alabama and could lead to fewer rural hospitals closing their doors.

Watch the full conversation here:

On this week’s episode of the Reckon Interview podcast, we explored the roots of the South’s broken health care system. Go ahead and subscribe on Apple PodcastsSpotifyAcast or wherever else you get your podcasts.