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.
A year ago, President Obama signed the Children's Health Insurance Program Reauthorization Act (CHIPRA) into law. As we look back on the impact of this new legislation over the past year, it is obvious that we have much to celebrate. CHIPRA made vast improvements to kid's coverage and access to care.
It may seem obvious, but these days it's necessary to say: Health reform will help Americans across the country.
If Congress passes reform, people with pre-existing conditions will be able to get insurance, those who are sick will not lose care, seniors will not have to worry about the ‘doughnut hole' anymore, and young people will be able to stay on their parents' plans longer.
Did you know that over 4 million people in this country were born with a right to health care? Through treaties, American Indians and Alaska Natives were guaranteed the right to health care and protection from the United States government in exchange for land.
As the health reform debate rages on, proponents of reform are finding it more and more difficult to find effective messaging against the opposition. Lucky for the attendees of Health Action 2010, we were able to attend the workshop "Messaging Challenges for States," where we were provided effective messaging tips to help advocates effectively address health reform implementation and connect with the public.
I just want to say one thing to all of you who are worried: Health reform is NOT dead. Seven hundred health reform advocates descended on DC last week to attend Families USA's annual conference, and everyone here is re-energized and ready to tell Congress and tell the President that the time is now to pass health reform.
Brian Smedley from the Health Policy Institute and Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies moderated the discussion and Chinwe Onyekere from Project HEALTH and Carol Bryant Payne from the Department of Housing and Urban Development shared how they approached this issue and some of the success they've had.