Patients over politics. That’s the message physicians are championing from Utah to Virginia. With patients’ needs at the forefront, physicians with Doctors for America are taking their message out of the exam room and into the public square in communities across the country to advocate for expanding and protecting access to healthcare.
Whether it’s speaking up for the 5.7 million Americans in the Medicaid coverage gap or speaking out against the Supreme Court’s ruling that allows employers to impose their religious beliefs on employee’s health care decisions, doctors are leading the way to improve the health of the nation.
CONNECTICUT MED STUDENTS STAND WITH VIVEK
Medical Student Kyle Ragins penned a joint op-ed with Neel Butala in the New Haven Register on the day Surgeon General Nominee Vivek Murthy spoke at the Yale School of Medicine’s Commencement.
“For a couple of 23-year-olds with only a few months of medical school under our belts, we had big dreams. Today, after years as roommates — coming up just short of fixing healthcare — we have the privilege of hearing a man speak at commencement who has turned the dreams he had as a 23-year-old medical student into a reality: Dr. Vivek Murthy, the current nominee for Surgeon General.”
IL’S POLLACK: REJECTING MEDICAID EXPANSION COULD KILL NEARLY 6,000 A YEAR
Harold Pollack penned a powerful piece in Politico Magazine on a recent study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine which found a decline in mortality rates after health reform in Massachusetts. According to the study, one death was prevented for every 830 people who gained coverage. What does that mean for states refusing to expand Medicaid? It means the issue is literally a matter of life and death.
“One thing is for sure. If anything close to these results apply, the ACA is saving many lives every year. The new law is projected to cover more than 20 million adults who would otherwise go uninsured… Some of the very same states bitterly resisted Medicare and Medicaid 50 years ago. It took until the early 1970s for southern states to embrace Medicaid… Delay still brings enormous human costs. Nearly 5 million low-income Americans are income-eligible for Medicaid under the ACA, yet live in states that now reject the Medicaid expansion. Within this rather small but critical low-income population, that same one-per-830 estimate implies that almost 5,800 people will die every year as a result of being left uninsured.”
MASSACHUSETTS MEMBERS SEEK TO EMPOWER PATIENTS
Dr. Umbereen Nehal attended a White House briefing on the Affordable Care Act with Faith and Community Leaders where she says she, “learned ways to continue to educate patients to be empowered consumers so the whole patient-centered care works as it is meant to work.”
NEW YORK PHYSICIANS ORGANIZE ADVOCACY CONFERENCE
Drs. Nina Agrawal and Bruce Rector held a successful physician advocacy conference in New York City, where they worked with a partnership of physicians and medical students from a number of different organizations. Dr. Manisha Sharma helped spearhead the workshop and provide participants with the tools and skills needed to make their voice heard on a community, state, and national level.
NORTH CAROLINA THANKS USPHS OFFICERS, MARCHES FOR MEDICAID EXPANSION
Drs. Alice Chen and Seanta Clark attended the U.S. Public Health Service’s Physician Day Conference in Raleigh, North Carolina. Dr. Chen spoke at the conference about DFA’s mission and work in states across the country and then joined Dr. Clark to greet USPHS officers at a booth where they thanked them for their service to improve the health of the nation.
Dr. Cheryl Viglione helped organize white coats for a Moral March on Raleigh to protest the state’s failure to expand Medicaid with tens of thousands of North Carolinians.
OHIO DOCTORS URGE LEADERS TO ACT ON CLIMATE CHANGE
Dr. Don Nguyen and Dr. Leroy spoke to a large crowd about climate change and the health effects of pollutants with Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley.
OKLAHOMA'S FEARLESS PHYSICIAN ADVOCATE FIGHTS TO IMPROVE COVERAGE
Dr. Kathy Scheirman has been working tirelessly to sway leaders in Oklahoma to support expanding access to healthcare. Outreach in Oklahoma is tough, but Dr. Scheirman knows that being uninsured is tougher. That’s why she has been pounding the pavement, talking to partners and allies and arming them with the tools they need to fight to improve coverage and care for the people of OK.
REMINDING UTAHNS ABOUT THE REAL PEOPLE IN THE COVERAGE GAP
Dr. Scott Poppen has been supporting efforts to forge a Medicaid compromise and pushing back on attempts from those who seek to block the expansion in Utah, as he did in a recent op-ed in The Utah Desert News: The whole story on Arkansas' and Utah's Medicaid expansion alternatives.
“King’s piece glaringly overlooks the fact that Utah is losing $796,789 each day in federal funds that would have been coming to our state if Utah lawmakers had expanded access to health care as 26 other states have already done. Total lost funding since the start of Jan. 1, 2014, is now in excess of $110 million. I think it would have been polite for him to offer a simple ‘thank you’ to the citizens of Utah for sending our own hard-earned tax dollars to fund the health needs of Arkansans.”
When Dr. Poppen isn’t fight back against those spreading misinformation about the ACA, he’s reminding Utahns about the real people impacted by the state’s failure to expand. People like Emily, an unemployed woman battling breast cancer that failed to qualify for Medicaid and passed away. Dr. Poppen has been helping share Emily’s story which is featured in a chilling documentary about denying Medicaid coverage.
VIRGINIA PHYSICIANS FIGHT OBSTRUCTION, PUSH FOR EXPANSION
Dr. Chris Lillis has been busy fighting day and night to expand Medicaid in Virginia. From to holding a press call to crafting a wildly successful sign-on letter demanding state leaders close the coverage gap, Dr. Lillis has been a vocal advocate against the House of Delegates obstruction. Gov. Terry McAuliffe heard the call from advocates and physicians across the state, and responded with a powerful message about the importance of putting people over politics, by declaring that he will move forward to expand access to care despite legislative opposition.
Three cheers for Dr. Lillis and physicians across Virginia for their tireless advocacy on behalf of 400,000 Virginians! They know the fight is not over yet. Speaker Bill Howell is now embarking on a legal battle to block Virginian's uninsured from getting care. That’s why Dr. Lillis is keeping the heat on the elected officials by holding a vigil followed by a march to Speaker Howell’s office to remind Virginia’s elected officials that lives are on the line and by continuing to write commentary like his piece in the Free Lance Star calling out ideological obstruction in Richmond.
“By my count, there were at least four different proposals to Speaker Howell and his Republicans in the House of Delegates…Speaker Howell and his Republicans in the House of Delegates had four different proposals, three of which were compromises offered by their fellow Republicans, and Speaker Howell’s answer was always a concise: ‘No.’”