Where Is Your Heart?

We rallied outside Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers’ headquarters in Spokane on Monday, February 13th, to demand that she stand up to her peers and protect health care. We asked her WHERE IS YOUR HEART and tried to speak with her and tell her our stories of people who NEED their health care.

We prepared special presents for her — stuffed animals, each with a name and a story attached of an actual person who needs their health care. But, she was not there to hear from her constituents.

Rep. McMorris Rodgers and other Republican leaders are pushing to repeal the Affordable Care Act, which would leave thousands in her district without the quality, affordable health care they deserve. #SaveTheACA

Save the ACA Rally at Seattle’s Westlake Park

On Sunday, January 15, Washington CAN! members were out in force at Westlake Park rallying to not just save health care, but to expand it so everyone in Washington is covered. Our leader Roi-Martin Brown addressed the crowd along with the Main Street Alliance of Washington leader Makini Howell who told their own personal stories of how the Affordable Care Act (ACA) has made a difference in their lives.

Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal led the rally with strong support from the crowd. She will be a fierce ally in Washington D.C. as the fight begins to #SaveTheACA.

We are facing the repeal of the ACA and potentially huge reductions in the support for Medicaid for low-income Washingtonians. We also face an attempt to privatize Medicare. Almost all of the progress made in the last decade in health care is in jeopardy. Washington CAN! is helping to lead the fight against these challenges. A bill is being drafted to protect Washington State against the possible destruction of huge portions of our health care system.

Washington Uninsured Rates Among Lowest in the Nation with New Medicaid Options

health insuranceBefore new coverage options under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) rolled out in October of 2013, Washington CAN! mobilized to make sure the state accepted federal funds to cover low-income adults through Medicaid. Now, after two years of enrollment through the ACA, nearly 552,000 people are now covered by Medicaid, also known as Apple Health, and despite initial hiccups and stumbles with the online system our state had the fourth highest drop in the number of uninsured. Most people agree Washington’s efforts to close the coverage gap were incredibly successful.

Despite this evidence, Representative Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R), was determined to paint a different picture. She asked her Facebook followers to share negative stories to bash the Affordable Care Act (ACA). However, instead, her post received an overwhelming response from nearly 10,000 fierce defenders of the ACA. Many of their comments indicated that either they or family and friends benefit from the new health care options under the ACA, including Apple Health. It was heartening to see so many Washingtonians stand up for health care coverage and for their friends and neighbors.

At Washington CAN!, we know the thousands of positive comments on Representative McMorris Rodgers’ Facebook post represent the true benefit of covering more people. In our own outreach we heard similar things from people across our state. We heard from Sam, a University of Washington graduate student who told us that Apple Health has given her peace of mind as she finishes her degree and starts her job hunt. She was afraid of getting sick and having to choose between treating her illness and paying tuition. Now, she’s considering starting a family thanks to her Apple Health coverage.

We heard from Kristi Brown Wokoma, chef and owner of That Brown Girl Cooks, a small business. She and her husband were still paying the debt for a hospital stay to remove fibroids when another serious condition surfaced. They were covered by Medicaid because Washington accepted federal funds to cover more people through the program. Now they can take care of her medical challenges without losing ground financially. Wokoma is grateful her family is now covered.

As we see and hear about the importance of insurance coverage for people in our state, we know there is more work to do to make sure everyone has access to care. We organize with the idea that our members are a powerful representation of every consumer and encourage them to advocate for the best coverage possible.

At Washington CAN!, we believe the next step for Washington is universal single-payer health care. The Health Care is a Human Right movement, a two-year, grassroots campaign to give all Washington State residents access to quality affordable health care is underway. Two bills were introduced in the 2015 legislature and, because they heard from Washington CAN! members in their districts, 45 legislators were co-sponsors, an impressive number for a first-time bill. The campaign, built with a robust coalition, is off to a great start. So yes, Washington State has indeed benefitted from increased access to Medicaid and will continue to do so, but it’s only the beginning.

Health care: Work remains to make coverage universal

King v Burwell

Letter to the Editor of the Seattle Times

On Thursday, the U.S. Supreme Court rejected yet another attack on the Affordable Care Act [“Supreme Court upholds cornerstone of Obamacare”, Page One, June 26]. The court’s decision is good news for everyone in Washington state and across the country, protecting the tax credits that now make health insurance affordable for millions.

But we should also take this lawsuit as a reminder that transforming our health care system is a project still in the making. As far as we’ve come, lots of work remains.

We must fight to protect the gains of the ACA, including taking advantage of new tools in the law designed to make sure the quality of care we receive doesn’t depend on our race, the language we speak or how much we earn.

But we must also build on those gains here in Washington to ensure we have a health care system where no one is left out and everyone can make health care decisions without fear of falling into medical debt.

I’m part of the Health Care is a Human Right campaign, a multi-year, grassroots effort to bring a truly universal health care system to Washington, and I encourage others to get involved in their communities.

Health reform is here to stay, and that’s great news for all of us. Now, let’s get to the work of realizing its full promise.

Leah Vetter, Seattle

Source: http://www.seattletimes.com/opinion/letters-to-the-editor/health-care-work-remains-to-make-coverage-universal/

Other letters written by the Health Care Action Team include:

Peter Lucas in the Bainbridge Island Review http://www.bainbridgereview.com/opinion/letters/314348601.html

Joselito Lopez in the Kirkland Reporter http://www.kirklandreporter.com/opinion/letters/310713481.html

Tamara Crane in the Woodinville Weekly http://www.nwnews.com/index.php/local/letters-to-the-editor/11612-letters-to-the-editor-july-6-2015

 

The ACA Is About People, Not Politics

Over the past five years, we at Community Catalyst have watched the Affordable Care Act go from a hotly contested piece of legislation to a hotly contested law that, despite non-stop efforts to undermine it, has given millions of American’s access to health care. The ACA is fulfilling its promise to the American people.

Unfortunately, unrelenting attacks on the law, heightened by media coverage, have overshadowed the ACA’s impact on real people. On the heels of a second successful enrollment period that ends today with more than 11 million people signing up for coverage, it’s time to put the attacks against the ACA to rest. Americans are tired of the political posturing that’s resulted in more than 50 votes to repeal the law. Recent polling shows that more Americans support than oppose the law, and that more people would rather see the law improved or kept as is than repealed.

It’s time to turn the focus on what this law is really about – people, not politics. It’s about your friend with diabetes who can now no longer be denied the coverage she needs to stay healthy. It’s about your neighbor who can start a new business without the worry of losing access to affordable health care coverage. It’s about a family member who won’t have to go into debt to pay for a hospital stay. We need to lift up those stories.

That begins with sharing the stories of people like Julie. Julie is an aunt, a wife and a successful musician, who, thanks to the ACA, had coverage when she needed it most. Today, the Community Catalyst Action Fund launched a national ad campaign about Julie’s experience with the ACA. We think Julie’s story and the message in this campaign is one worth sharing.

For more than 20 years, Julie went without health insurance. Thanks to the ACA, Julie was covered when she was diagnosed with breast cancer. Her coverage gave her peace of mind and access to affordable treatment for her cancer. Everyone should be able to have the quality, affordable health coverage they need—just like Julie has. While the ad is only 30 seconds long, it is a powerful example of what the ACA means to people who have gotten covered.

 

CCAd Screenshot

We hope you can help share Julie’s story and the powerful impact of the ACA.