Before the Affordable Care Act, there were times in my life when I had health insurance and other times when I did not. Some employers would offer me a plan, and then if I switched jobs, I’d lose it. I tried to apply for coverage on the individual market, but insurers would deny me when I admitted that I had occasional migraines and sinus issues.
Erich was born with Downs Syndrome and a severe intellectual disability. At 20 years old, he functions at roughly the level of a second grader. While many young adults with Downs have been able to integrate into society and take on employment, Erich’s disability is so profound that he requires full-time care and he will never be able to live independently.
My family’s whole world was turned upside down in September 2015 when my husband, Ed, survived a massive stroke caused by hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM). Doctors knew that he had HCM beforehand and they had taken preventive measures, including placing a pacemaker in. But still, nothing could have prepared us for what happened next.
Medicaid often provides life-saving care for children who are born with congenital defects. This California family credits Medi-Cal, California’s version of Medicaid, with saving their son in the days after his birth. If Medicaid is cut, services like these will no longer be available for families like theirs.
At our Health Action conference last month in Washington, D.C., we heard about the great work advocates are doing in their legislatures and communities to improve access to high-quality, affordable health care. Hear from advocates working in Colorado, Connecticut, New York, and Tennessee about their priorities for 2016.
The next open enrollment period begins on November 15, and navigator and assister programs are already gearing up to help consumers apply for new coverage or renew existing coverage. During the first open enrollment period, which ran for six months, navigators and assisters were inundated with requests for help from consumers. Demand was so great that staffers were often overwhelmed, and all available appointments were booked. Several state assistance programs found that using volunteers allowed their programs to reach and help more consumers.
Today is the 47th Anniversary of Medicare. On July 30, 1965, President Lyndon Johnson traveled to Independence, Missouri, for a formal ceremony where he signed both Medicare and Medicaid into law. President Truman became Medicare's first beneficiary.
This week, the New York Times ran a powerful op-ed by billionaire Warren Buffett. In the piece, Buffett implores Republican leaders to stop “coddling the mega-rich” and stop trying to balance the budget on the backs of the poor. Instead, the billionaire insists that Congress ask the wealthy to pay their fair share.
So, what prompted Mr. Buffett to call out Republican leaders?
Almost everyone will be faced with the need to make a critical decision about treatment for a disease or medical condition at some point in our lives. If you’re diagnosed with diabetes or heart disease, for example, you’ll want to make sure that you get the best care possible. In that moment, many will ask: What’s the right treatment option for me?
The answer to that question may not be as simple as we might like or expect. Medical evidence is the foundation for determining what works and for whom in health care and informing decision making.
This past Tuesday, President Obama delivered a message to the health insurance industry, opponents of The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, and all the naysayers who think health care reform won’t succeed:
“We’re not going back. I refuse to go back.”