Good Medicine: Better Rx Policies Addressed with Senate

Grassroots delegates from 10 states joined Senator Rockefeller’s office to host a town hall today at the Capitol Senate Budget Committee Room. Also supported by Budget Committee Chair Senator Patty Murray’s office, the town hall was held to address health disparities, the national budget and specifically the importance of the Medicare Prescription Drug Savings Act.

Citing austerity economics and the push for a “Grand Bargain” as key factors in efforts to cut Americans from receiving benefits through Medicare and Medicaid, The Alliance for a Just Society set the stage for the discussion. “There are cost savings options available to the American people—that make pharmaceutical companies responsible for paying their own fair share and stop the handout of taxpayer dollars to supersize corporate profits, “ Mauricio Ayon Political Director of Washington Community Action Network and a member of the Alliance. Read more

Health Care 2011: Year in Review

The election in November of 2010 shifted the political ground both in D.C. and in many state legislatures. These political changes brought efforts to repeal the ACA and to reduce the national commitment both to Medicaid and to critical programs funded as a part of reform. The efforts by the political right to reset the national agenda challenge every gain we’ve made. Although the fight for health care has moved from front page news to the trenches, we have seen some impressive achievements this past year: Read more

Left in the Dark

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. Read more

Insurance Companies Weaken Language Access Regulations while Getting Wealthier

A few weeks ago, the Department of Health and Human Services issued a regulation stipulating that insurance companies only have to provide language services to a person with Limited English Proficiency if 10% of people in their county speak their same language. This is a high bar – only 177 out of 3,143 counties in the United States have communities that would qualify under this guideline. Hundreds of thousands of people will be left out due to this unscrupulous regulation. For instance, Spanish speakers in Los Angeles County will be able to communicate with their insurance companies, but speakers of Asian and Pacific Island languages won’t because they don’t meet the 10% threshold, which amounts to having 355,581 people not receiving language services. Read more

Around the Country, Organizations Show that Language Access in Health Care is a Human Right

During the week of December 6, organizations throughout the country hung banners with the message “Language = Life: Language in Health Care is a Human Right.”  They sent a clear message to the White House and the Department of Health and Human Services  that language access is right, not a privilege. Read more

On Language Access, Holding HHS Accountable to People, Not Insurance Companies

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is currently creating the regulations that basically put the meat on the bones of this country’s health care reform law. It is the outcome of these rule-making decisions that will determine the success, or failure, of reform. NWFCO, with the Health Rights Organizing Project, has been weighing in on key aspects of reform that have been prioritized by the communities with which we work. One key issue is addressing the linguistic barriers limited English proficient (LEP) people face when trying to access health insurance coverage and medical care in the current system. Read more

HROP Members Tell HHS: “We’re Sick Of Not Being Heard”

Almost nine percent of people in the United States are of limited English proficiency. To understand and navigate their health insurance–and get the care they require–they need access to competent interpretation and translation. Access to such language services is a matter of civil rights and is currently under threat by new rules established by Health and Human Services. Upon learning the news last week, the Health Rights Organizing Project (HROP) sprung into action. Read more

Health Rights Organizing Project Members Work with HHS to Ensure Language Access

On Tuesday, September 14, NWFCO organized a meeting in Washington, D.C. with the Department of Health of Human Services to discuss the importance of language access in health care. Members from NWFCO and several organizations from the Health Rights Organizing Project, including Make the Road New York, The Community Service Society of New York, The National Korean American Service & Education Consortium (NAKASEC), and Washington Community Action Network, had the ear of many folks within HHS, including representatives from the Offices of Health Reform, Civil Rights, External Affairs, and Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight. Read more

NWFCO Celebrates New Health Care Law!

I’m signing [this health reform bill] for 11-year-old Marcelas Owens, who’s also here. Marcelas lost his mom to an illness. And she didn’t have insurance and couldn’t afford the care that she needed. So in her memory he has told her story across America so that no other children have to go through what his family has experienced. — President Barack Obama, March 23, 2010 Read more