Local and National Statements on Health Reform: UHW Helping You with Health Reform

PROVIDENCE, RI – Earlier this week, here on UrbanHealthWatch.net, we talked about the fact that everyone would be effected by health issues one day or another, particularly with the recent legislative action around health reform. We wondered if people were ready for changes that would ensue as the process continued, and we asked you to fill out a survey – “How Can We Help You with Health Reform?”

There’s still time to take the survey by clicking here, but we’re ready to start helping now. Therefore check out the excerpts below; they come from updates and statements that have been sent by local and national organizations. Learn more about what’s left in the process, what changes you and your family can expect, and where to go for more information.
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From Rhode Island Kids Count
(A Statement by Elizabeth Burke Bryant, Executive Director of Rhode Island KIDS COUNT)

Health reform is a major victory for children and families. It delivers what Rhode Island families need: affordable, reliable health coverage that won’t disappear if they lose a job or get sick.

Health care reform

• Requires insurance companies to provide pediatrician-recommended care for children so they can grow and thrive.

• Allows parents to keep their children up to age 26 on their family health plans.

• Continues RIte Care, a successful federal-state partnership between Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) that has worked to cover 79,000 children and 41,000 parents last year in Rhode Island with high quality coverage at an affordable cost.

• Ensures that losing a job no longer means Rhode Island families also have to worry about becoming uninsured.

• Ends insurance companies’ discrimination based on pre-existing conditions.

Although health care reform will deliver on the promise of covering more people in the coming years, there will still be uninsured Rhode Islanders in the short-term. Thanks to RIte Care, we can start to cover some of those uninsured children and families right now.

As a first win for families, we can help the estimated 13,000 children in Rhode Island who qualify for RIte Care based on their family’s income to secure this coverage. Families who need health insurance can apply for RIte Care coverage today by going to http://www.dhs.ri.gov or by calling 401-462-5300. Families that would like help in applying can find a Family Resource Counselor who can explain the application process and help with paperwork at http://www.rihca.org or by calling 401-271-1171, extension 217.

Read more here.

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From the National Urban League
(Urban Health Watch is run by Urban League of RI, a member organization to the National Urban League)

Over the last 48 hours, countless people like you and your neighbors called members of Congress and advocated for legislation that will empower 31 million people with a new right to health insurance. Your voices and the muted voices of the voiceless have finally been heard. No longer will those without financial means, previous medical conditions, or those subject to the whims of health insurance companies be excluded from basic health fairness.

The last 24 hours have witnessed a chaos and disorder that reared its ugly head in nasty language and hostile attacks. Despite attacks upon civil rights icons in the Congress, justice and truth continue to “march on.” That is why we must renew our efforts to mobilize like we did in the past. But this time, we must effectively use technology and online resources if we are to have an impact on future decisions of government. The spirit of the past must be empowered by the possibilities of today.

That is why we need you and many like you to go to http://iamempowered.com, take the I AM EMPOWERED pledge for a better America, and get involved in today’s battles; battles that are increasingly won or lost online using technology. We must be part of the revolution in engagement that has so often left us behind. Take the pledge, get involved, and congratulations on this historic victory.

Learn more here.

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From the New England Alliance for Children’s Health
(A Community Catalyst Initiative)

The House voted 219-212 to pass the Senate bill and then passed the reconciliation “fix-it” bill by a vote of 220-211. Congressman Stephen Lynch (D-MA) was the only House member from New England who did not vote for the Senate bill.

The legislation that passed last night will improve the health care system for children and families in a number of ways. The bill includes provisions to:

* Expand Medicaid to all children and families up to 133% FPL
* Maintain the CHIP program through at least 2015
* Simplify and coordinate enrollment processes for coverage in Medicaid, CHIP, and the exchange
* Provide funding for school-based health centers, oral health education campaigns, and pediatric quality improvement programs
* Ban insurers from denying coverage to children with preexisting conditions

Please contact your senators and encourage them vote for the reconciliation package. We must ensure quick passage of this bill in order to guarantee that the health care reform legislation is as strong a bill as possible for children and their families.

Read more here.

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From the Prevention Institute

We did it. With the heroic and historic steps toward health reform that were taken yesterday, communities across the country will be able to start building better health tomorrow. Health reform represents a major step forward in supporting those with greatest need, and by insuring more coverage for more people.

And we won’t be waiting around: prevention money will be funneled directly towards communities in the coming months. The minute the president signs the health reform bill, approximately $15 billion dollars dedicated to community prevention will be made available to expand and sustain national investment in prevention and public health programs over the next ten years.

Here are our recommendations for next steps from the Federal Government:

1) Expand the understanding and funding of prevention, focusing not just on chronic disease prevention, but including other community concerns such as violence prevention and other safety issues, where communities would benefit from prevention.

2) Set aside significant additional resources to fund and build capacity in those communities where there is a vital need for prevention work, but where skills and expertise need further development.

Read more here.

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