On December 1st and 2nd, 120 members of our affiliate Maine People’s Alliance (MPA) came together from across the state for their Annual Winter Retreat. The event created space for staff and leaders to reflect on their work over the past six months and to develop plans for 2013. Continue reading
Today, members of the Health Rights Organizing Project called on the federal government to prevent health insurance companies from denying health care to people who speak limited English. Under the new health reform law, patients have the right to appeal insurance companies’ health care denials. Insurers are supposed to inform patients of these rights, including patients not fluent in English. Continue reading
Earlier this summer, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) released a preliminary set of regulations that instruct states in the development of their new health insurance marketplaces, also called exchanges. These rules govern all aspects of how the exchanges are run and are a key mechanism for reigning in health insurance company profiteering.
There are a few key aspects of the rules that could be strengthened to ensure that the exchanges function for the benefit of people, not health insurance companies. Right now, HHS is accepting comments to help them revise the rules. This is our opportunity to set a high bar for states to meet or exceed – click here to sign a petition telling HHS that they must ensure that state exchanges: Continue reading
Congress is locked in a budget battle that’s grabbed round-the-clock media attention. Lost in the coverage are the real stakes in the debate, including the lives of the more than 50 million people covered by Medicaid, which is now in the budget-cutting cross-hairs. More than half of these 50 million are people of color. Racial disparities in health coverage have already reached alarming proportions. Cuts to Medicaid would make these disparities even worse, taking a toll on the real lives of real people.
The experiences and perspectives of some of these real people are captured in Medicaid Makes a Difference: Protecting Medicaid, Advancing Racial Equity, from the Alliance for a Just Society and 14 members of its Health Rights Organizing Project, a network of grassroots organizations across the country committed to the fight for health equity.
On July 12th, over 250 people joined with Senators Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island, Al Franken of Minnesota and Claire McCaskill of Missouri to highlight the important role Medicaid plays for seniors, kids, families and America and to decry recently proposed cuts to the critical program. The Alliance for a Just Society worked with Caring Across Generations, PICO, Campaign for Community Change, Community Catalyst, and Health Care for America Now! to make this event a success. Continue reading
On May 6, the Vermont State Legislature passed a law creating a new health policy for its state. The Governor signed it into law that same day. The Act, H. 202, includes a fairly comprehensive set of policies that should serve as a model for other states to follow.
H. 202 not only creates an exchange for Vermont, but it also creates a public option to private insurance, places controls on pharmaceutical and provider costs, and unifies the administration of public health care systems.
In 1965, President Lyndon Johnson signed Medicaid and Medicare into law.
At the signing ceremony, he spoke of the tradition of leadership that compelled the country to create such programs. He also spoke of another tradition, one embedded in our national identity and values. He said this value “calls upon us never to be indifferent toward despair. It commands us never to turn away from helplessness. It directs us never to ignore or to spurn those who suffer untended in a land that is bursting with abundance.”
Unfortunately, the recent actions of many Members of Congress fly in the face of this tradition. Continue reading
Nearly a year after the passage of health care reform, the Alliance for a Just Society convened members of its Health Rights Organizing Project, a national collaboration of grassroots community organizations working on health care, to reflect on that victory and to develop next steps in the long march towards an equitable health care system. This was the first face-to-face meeting of the coalition since health reform was made law in March 2010. Continue reading
If you woke up tomorrow and discovered that you were a Member of Congress, what would be your first order of business? The economy is in the tank, so maybe you would endeavor to create a jobs program to curb unemployment. Poverty is on the rise, so you could consider options for strengthening the country’s safety net programs such as food stamps and cash assistance. States all find themselves in dire budget straits, so perhaps you would push to alleviate some of the crises by infusing more federal money into state coffers. And of course, because we need money to pay for these critical items, you could revisit the whole rich-not-paying-their-fair-share-of-taxes issue.
Or, like the actual new Members of Congress, you could promote a bill that would repeal health care reform, and prioritize the profits of corporations over the well-being of people. Continue reading
Health care reform, if fully realized, will provide health insurance coverage for an additional 30 million people in America. One of the main ways this will happen is through the creation of centralized health insurance marketplaces, or “state exchanges.” If set up properly and well, people without insurance will be able to go to their state exchange and acquire quality health insurance at affordable prices. Members of the Health Rights Organizing Project (HROP) are engaged in implementation campaigns to make sure there is no “if” about how these exchanges are set up. Continue reading