Federal health reform provides North Carolina an opportunity to ensure quality health care for hundreds of thousands of people previously locked out of the health care system. Now it is up to the state, with the prodding of advocates at the Health Access Coalition, to move forward with making quality, affordable care available to all North Carolinians.
Building Understanding of New Health Benefits and Rights
As a result of the federal Affordable Care Act, people have new rights, such as preventive care without cost sharing and extended family coverage for young adults. In 2012 the Health Access Coalition helped North Carolinians understand and access these new benefits
- Organized meetings with more than 400 attendees in ten cities and towns, bringing doctors and local service providers together with the public to discuss available services and how health reform is building stronger communities
- Wrote editorials and traveled to forums across the state to explain reform and counter false claims about the law
- Provided commentary and organized press conferences, especially in the run up to the United State Supreme Court decision on health reform
Laying the Foundations for a Better Health System
To make health reform work and to build a path that is open to everyone, the Health Access Coalition advocated for policies at the national and state levels that will make health reform work for all consumers, especially those with limited means and great health care needs.
- Worked at the legislature to block bills that would have hurt consumers and undermined the intent of health reform
- Served on advisory councils through the NC Institute of Medicine and shaped recommendations on how the state should implement health reform
- Commented on regulations and served as a designated consumer representative to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners to help craft national rules that best serve North Carolinians
Informing the Debate by Telling North Carolinians’ Stories
Every path is ultimately about the people who walk it. To build support for health reform and continue highlighting problems in the health system, the Health Access Coalition is committed to giving people a voice. When we see the faces of people who are hurt and helped by state and national policies it reminds all of us that political decisions make a real difference.
- Recorded the stories of people benefiting from health reform or hurt by the complexities of the health care system and distributed them online and through our e-newsletters
- Successfully pitched the stories we compiled to local and national media outlets to put a human face on the health reform debate
- Traveled to California, New Mexico, Florida, Pennsylvania, Utah, New York, Wisconsin, DC and Texas to help other advocates learn to record and edit video stories of everyday people
The Big Challenge for 2013 – Expanding Medicaid
The United States Supreme Court determined that each state can decide whether to expand Medicaid to all low-income individuals and families within its boundaries. In North Carolina expanding Medicaid would bring billions of dollars in federal money to the state and provide health insurance coverage to nearly 500,000 people. Medicaid makes up half of the coverage expansion promised by the Affordable Care Act.
Already some state leaders are proposing to walk away from over $15 billion in federal funding and deny desperately needed health care to needy North Carolinians. The Health Access Coalition will continue organizing partner groups, working with media outlets, holding public forums, and lobbying legislators to protect the state’s most vulnerable residents.
Annual Reports on Health Access