The Affordable Care Act has two main elements. One is to provide affordable health insurance to working people through the health care exchanges but these can be taken advantage of only by people who are working and roughly in the middle class in terms of income but do not have health insurance through their employers. It is this part that was inaugurated on October 1 and has received a lot of attention.
But there is another important element and that is the expansion of Medicaid to lower income people. This would provide insurance to those who cannot afford even the subsidized coverage offered by the health care exchanges. However, the US Supreme Court said that states were not obliged to do this, even though the full cost of it would be borne by the federal government at least in the first few years.
Many states that are controlled by Republicans decided to not do this, thereby preventing many families from getting much needed health insurance., because any attempt to make life easier for poor people goes against what we can laughingly refer to as their ‘principles’. In Ohio, the Republican governor John Kasich wanted to accept the expansion but the Republican-controlled legislature has refused to go along.
The group SPANOhio (Single Payer Action Network of Ohio of which I am a member) and other groups have decided to put the issue on a statewide ballot for next year and have started the process of gaining signatures. They need people to collect them and are offering an online training session to get things moving.
Here is the information I received from them that I am passing along about what we can do to help.
I am happy to announce that the official petitions for the Medicaid expansion ballot initiative campaign are printed and ready for circulation. The ballot initiative will expand health care coverage to families and communities across Ohio, including 275,000 Ohioans over the next two years.
We need supporters across the state to get trained and get involved in the effort to collect 115,000 signatures by the end of December, so Advocates for Ohio’s Future and our partners are holding webinar training on Thursday, October 10 at from 4:00 to 5:00 pm.
We’ll hear from statewide leaders and trainers from Healthy Ohioans work, including:
* Eric Rosso, Political Liaison, SEIU District 1199
* Julie DiRossi King, Director of Policy and Public Affairs, Ohio Association of Community Health Centers
* Danielle Smith, Executive Director, National Association of Social Workers of Ohio
* Cindy Cunningham, Program and Policy Director, Mental Health & Addiction Advocacy Coalition
* Alyssa Chenault, Communications Manager, UHCAN Ohio
* Will Petrik, State Director, Advocates for Ohio’s Future
Please spread the word to your co-workers, family and friends about this training opportunity.
Thanks for getting involved to help make families and communities healthier and our state stronger.
This webinar is being co-sponsored by the Coalition on Homelessness and Housing in Ohio, the Ohio Association of Foodbanks, the Ohio Council of Behavioral Health & Family Services Providers, the National Association of Social Workers ˆ Ohio Chapter, UHCAN Ohio, SPAN Ohio, the Ohio Association of Community Health Centers, the Mental Health & Addiction Advocacy Coalition, SEIU 1199 and Advocates for Ohio’s Future.
I hope those who live in Ohio will spread the word.