First, there were the highly publicized rate hikes in California. Then, the Department of Health and Human Services released a report detailing rate hikes in several more states. And then there was WellPoint, who joined the club last week by jacking up premiums in 11 states.
The fight over health reform has reached a fevered pitch, but between all the arguing over process and the lies and distortions that have been thrown around by the opposition, the true meaning of reform seems to have been lost: People's lives are at stake.
A recent Kaiser Poll showed that while Americans are split on their support for the health care legislation in general, they are very supportive of individual aspects of the legislation. The logic then follows-to generate more support among those that are wary, we need to be clear about the all of the protections and benefits Americans will receive with health reform.
The news of WellPoint's Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield hiking up premiums for its customers in California by 39% made waves across the country, and many other of WellPoint's affiliates will soon follow suit.
California consumers are not alone as they face huge premium hikes. Other consumers in states across the country also will see rate hikes from WellPoint this year.
Last week, a few of my colleagues and I had the honor of meeting up with a group of 10 dedicated health care activists from Philadelphia Unemployment Project and Pennsylvania HCAN who were finishing up the last leg of a 150 mile march from Philadelphia to Washington, D.C. Melanie's March, named after an avid health reform activist, Melanie Shouse, who recently passed away from breast cancer, sought to show legislators just how urgently we need health reform.
The beltway has been abuzz ever since President Obama announced he plans to hold a Health Care Summit between key Congressional leaders. Will Republicans attend? Will President Obama provide a health reform proposal? Will the Republicans provide their own proposal? If they do provide a proposal, will meet the criteria of meaningful health reform?
If the news of impending premium hikes in California wasn't enough to convince you of the urgency of passing health reform, then the news that insurance companies in at least six other states (and counting) have proposed dramatic rate increases as well should shock you into the realization that the time for reform is NOW!
Despite the recent epic snowfall in D.C., our congressional leaders and President Barack Obama have continued to work towards a compromise on the health reform bills, in hopes of finding a way to move it across the finish line. Unfortunately, reform has not come quickly enough for many people in California.
Sometimes you have to hit the streets to make a difference. And sometimes, you have to go a bit further. We're not talking about the usual suspects, like protesting or a two-hour march. We're talking about huge march across three states that will urge Congress to finally push health reform over the finish line.
After 4 years of hard work, the day finally came for me to get my college diploma. Though I was proud of my accomplishment, I knew that the second I received my diploma, I lost my health insurance. After commencement, there was a long period of time when I was without coverage. Unfortunately, this is not uncommon. My fellow classmates and other graduating students across the country began their lives in the "real world" without insurance.