Restore Medicaid event re-energizes advocates at the Capitol

By Rosana G. Ferraro |

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On a warm Wednesday afternoon, Medicaid advocates from different organizations came together ahead of a public hearing at the Capitol to fight back against cuts to Medicaid programs in the state budget.

In the 2018-2019 state budget, there are severe cuts to Medicaid programs – and advocates want the cuts restored.  Four major cuts advocates talked about:

  • Dropping the income eligibility limits for HUSKY A – which will mean that over 13,000 parents and caregivers will lose their insurance coverage
  • Dropping the income eligibility limits for the Medicare Savings Program, which helps low-income elderly individuals and people with disabilities cover costs that Medicare doesn’t pay for – 113,000 low-income elderly individuals and people with disabilities will lose some or all of their financial help after June 30, 2018
  • Capping adult dental benefits at $1,000 – which means over 16,000 adults lose comprehensive dental coverage, and
  • Cutting primary care provider rates – which may mean fewer providers participate in Medicaid, making it harder for Medicaid members to access care

DSC00079Kathy Flaherty, Executive Director of the Connecticut Legal Rights Project, MC’ed the event, which opened with Elaine Kolb, a disability rights activity, singing “My Medicaid Matters” (to the tune of “Battle Hym of the Republic”).

Melissa Marshall, of the Connecticut Cross Disability Lifespan Alliance, explained how we got here, telling the story of last year’s fight against these terrible budget cuts.

Sheldon Toubman, of New Haven Legal Assistance, talked about how the Connecticut Medicaid program has improved – and how these cuts jeopardize the health of thousands of Connecticut residents.

Two women, Kim Hart, whose family relies on HUSKY/Medicaid coverage, and Juliet Meyer, who relies on the Medicare Savings Program (MSP), told their stories to the group.

Ann Pratt, of Connecticut Citizen Action Group, discussed the testifying process for the upcoming public hearing, and other opportunities for action in the 2018 legislative session, including Health Care Action Days at the Legislature planned for March 14 and April 18 (you should join us!).

dsc00171.jpgRevitalized, re-energized, and creating a human billboard that said Restore Medicaid, the group headed over to the Appropriations Committee public hearing to testify for restoration of Medicaid cuts in the state budget.

This is just one event in the long fight to make sure that HUSKY / Medicaid programs are restored and stay strong for the residents of Connecticut.  Thank you to all the organizations, advocates, activists, individuals impacted, and allies who came together for this event.

Make sure to sign up at Protect Our Care CT to get alerts about upcoming Health Care Action Days at the Capitol, and much more!

Press:

Activists keep the pressure on over state healthcare cuts, by Emilie Munson, Feb. 21, 2018, CT Post

Learn more with fact sheets from the event:

Video:

Check out the Connecticut Cross Disability Lifespan Alliance’s Facebook live videos here & here

Check out the Appropriations Committee public hearing where advocates and activists testified for restoration of HUSKY / Medicaid cuts (CT-N Connecticut Network)

Posted in Rosana G. Ferraro | Tagged ,

ACTION ALERT: Restoring Medicaid Coverage Event

RESTORING MEDICAID COVERAGE EVENT
Wednesday, February 21st
4pm: Legislative Briefing & Action Strategy, Capitol, Room 310 (map)
6pm: Appropriations Public Hearing, Legislative Office Building, Room 2C (map)

Parking: You can park in the Legislative Office Building Garage (map).  If the main garage is full, there is an overflow garage. 

To get to the Capitol, you can enter through the Legislative Office Building after parking in their garage.  The Capitol and the Legislative Office Building are connected via an underground walkway.

Last year, the CT General Assembly:

  • Changed eligibility levels for the Medicare Savings Program (MSP), impacting 113,000 seniors & people with disabilities,
  • Cut over 13,000 low income parents off of all of their health care coverage under HUSKY A,
  • Limited access to dental services for all adults on Medicaid, and
  • Cut reimbursement for primary care providers.

CT’s Medicaid program provides essential healthcare & benefits to approximately 800,000 CT residents, including elderly, low-income parents & people with disabilities — vital assistance that if changed as proposed, would leave the healthcare of thousands of our neighbors in jeopardy.

The Good News:  Because YOU spoke up and showed up at the Capitol, called your legislators, wrote Op-Eds and made sure our voices were heard, the CT General Assembly reversed their decision and rescinded the cuts to MSP.

The Bad News:  This fix was only temporary.  As it stands, our state’s most vulnerable citizens are scheduled to lose their benefits on July 1, 2018 — and the cuts to HUSKY A parents, dental benefits & primary rates still stand.

But as we saw in December, when we fight back, WE CAN WIN.

That’s why your voice, your presence and your actions are needed now more than ever before. Together we can stop these reckless cuts to Medicaid and keep Connecticut families health, safe and secure.

Please join us on Wednesday, Feb. 21st at 4pm in Hartford at the Capitol, Room 310 to discuss how we can work to prevent these damaging and hurtful cuts and protect CT’s signature health care program and our most vulnerable citizens.

Directly following our meeting, the General Assembly’s Appropriations Committee will host a Public Hearing at 6pm, where together we’ll MAKE sure that our elected officials understand that CT residents OPPOSE any cuts to Medicaid and are calling for FULL RESTORATION OF MEDICAID COVERAGE!

SPREAD THE WORD!!!

 

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We can’t afford to get cancer

By Jill Zorn |

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I am thinking a lot about the fact that many Americans can’t afford to get cancer.

I attended a conference last week, The Policy, Politics and Law of Cancer, hosted by Yale Law School’s Solomon Center for Health Law and Policy.  The conference brought together over 40 speakers from the fields of cancer treatment, research, government regulation and funding, academia, advocacy, and health policy.  Those attending heard a lot about the complexities of this terrible disease and the ever-evolving, ongoing effort to combat it.

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Posted in From the Foundation, Jill Zorn

Health care a hot topic in Hartford this week

By Rosana G. Ferraro |

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The Connecticut legislative session began on Wednesday and here are some health care highlights – it’s still early in the session, so stay tuned for updates and opportunities for advocacy and action!

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Posted in From the Foundation, Rosana G. Ferraro | Tagged

The Conversation We Must Have

By Stephanye R. Clarke  |

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Health Equity Solutions Executive Director, Dr. Tekisha D. Everette, facilitating a community conversation in New London, CT on January 31, 2018.   (Photo by La Chale Renee Photography)

#HealthIsWealth

That hashtag is just about everywhere—people are realizing now, more than ever, that living their healthiest life is a measure of wealth. If we’re honest, though, not everyone has the same opportunities to do so.

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Posted in From the Foundation, Stephanye Clarke | Tagged ,

Recharging for the Next Health Care Fight

By Jill Zorn  |

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The recent Families USA Health Action 2018 conference offered a chance for health advocates to take stock of our victories and recharge for the next fight for quality, affordable health care for all.

Attendees consisted of activists and policy experts barely recovered from the last year’s Herculean struggle to preserve the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and enrollment assisters just coming off an abbreviated but still highly successful ACA enrollment season.

The exhaustion in the room was palpable.  Yet, from the opening of the conference on January 25 through the closing session two days later, you could feel the energy level rising as people geared up for the next round of fights – not only to protect the gains we have made, but to get ready for bolder action.

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Posted in From the Foundation, Jill Zorn | Tagged , ,

Celebrating the Launch of the Office of Health Strategy

By Jill Zorn  |

0037-0602-2406-0237.jpgSince our founding, Universal Health Care Foundation has been fighting for Connecticut to be an innovator that raises up the needs of everyday people when it comes to access to comprehensive, affordable health care for all.

Connecticut has made a lot of progress to improve our health care system.  We were a leader in implementing the Affordable Care Act, including the successful launch and ongoing operation of our health insurance marketplace, Access Health CT.  Our Medicaid program and our State Employee Health Plan have taken innovative approaches to promoting health and restraining costs.  We have a State Innovation Model project, funded by a major grant from the federal government, that is bringing together public and private sector players to implement common payment and service delivery reforms.

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Posted in From the Foundation, Jill Zorn