Doctors across the country are celebrating the 11.7 million newly and re-enrolled Americans who obtained coverage during 2015 Open Enrollment. Thanks to the ACA, the uninsured rate has dropped to the lowest on record and more Americans are getting the medical care they need. As physicians and medical students, we are committed to providing great care to our new patients. We are equally committed to closing the coverage gap for millions still without access to care because their state leaders have refused to expand Medicaid and to protecting the care of more than 8 million Americans whose coverage is threatened by the King v. Burwell case.
Read on to learn what physician advocates have been up to across the country. And, don’t miss our doctors featured on the front page of The New York Times!
With the help of physician advocates, 2015 Open Enrollment signups soared to nearly 12 million. Physicians with Doctors for America helped spread the get covered word from coast-to-coast through enrollment events, days of service, phone banks to the uninsured and a pocket card for providers. Doctors continue leading the way on enrollment education and advocacy because we know coverage is good medicine!
DFA Pocket Card
Third year medical student Aaron Silver and Dr. Ram Krishnamoorthi completed the second edition of the health insurance screening and education pocket card. The pocket card, which is available on our website, is meant to educate healthcare providers and encourage screening of patients for health coverage. Aaron also conducted a few educational discussions about the ACA with first and second year students at Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine.
MLK Day of Service
Doctors came together on Martin Luther King Day of Service, Jan 19th, and MLK Day Weekend to help educate our communities about the importance of getting covered. In Ohio, Drs Don Nguyen, Matthew Noordsij- Jones and Kathy Lambes helped get a huge crowd of people enrolled at a MLK Day rally in Dayton.
National Youth Enrollment Day
As doctors and medical students, we know that health insurance can protect patients from big bills in case of an accident and keep them healthy all year-round. That’s why Doctors for America participated in a National Youth Enrollment Day twitter chat to help young people learn about their options and sign up for health insurance. The chat generated almost 4 million Twitter impacts, with over 300 tweets. Check out the Storify of the questions and answers here.
Call for Coverage
Doctors for America members across the country helped spread the word about the final week of enrollment by picking up the phone or hosting phone banks to talk with consumers about where and how they can enroll. Eamon Duffy, a medical student at Yale School of Medicine who also serves as the Doctors for America Connecticut State Director, organized a phone bank to notify people about the deadline. His calls were some of the many that took place across the country!
Med Student Enrollment Outreach
Medical students were leading the way during 2015 Open Enrollment by helping to reach the uninsured at ACA enrollment and education events.
In Connecticut, Kyle Ragins, medical student at the Yale School of Medicine and a member of DFA’s Board, helped spread the get covered word at a student club fair at Norwalk Community College. At the event, Kyle met a student (pictured right) who recently lost his health insurance and was unaware of the options available to him or of the deadline.
In New York, Mount Sinai students Andrea Jakubowski and Ann Crawford-Roberts, at the Icahn School of Medicine, gave a total of 24 presentations about the ACA and health insurance marketplace, with 330 in attendance, nearly two-thirds of whom were East Harlem residents. Students tabled at four community events, presented at 25 meetings and forums with city, state and national government representation at local health coalition meetings in East Harlem, and at Mount Sinai. Students also started an ACA and Healthcare Access working group with the East Harlem Community Health Committee, a large coalition of health and social service providers in the neighborhood, holding five sessions.
In Ohio, Anish Mehta, Karishma Habbu and Torrey Byrd, medical students at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, helped enroll the thousands of uninsured in Northeast Ohio. The team trained medical students, paired them up with local physicians and then sent them off to give healthcare presentations around the community about health insurance and enrollment.
Indiana is the 28th state to expand Medicaid. Momentum is growing as GOP governors finally move to close the coverage gap in states across the country. Physicians are committed to fighting tirelessly to close the gap for the more than 4 million without access to care – 2 million of whom live in Florida and Texas alone.
In Florida, Dr. Suzie Prabhakaran organized statewide advocacy trainings and led an effort to collect 300 signatures from doctors across the state urging Senate President Andy Gardiner to champion Medicaid expansion during the legislative session. After receiving the letters of support, Sen. Gardiner kicked off the legislative session with a vocal and urgent call to expand access to care for nearly one million Floridians. With a bill now moving in the Florida Senate, physicians in the state remain hopeful 2015 will finally be the year to close the gap.
In Utah, with Dr. Scott Poppen at the helm, physicians testified at legislative hearings, engaged on social media, and attended rallies in support of Governor Gary Herbert's plan to expand Medicaid. Healthy Utah would provide access to medical care to 140,000 Utahns including some 70 to 80 thousand stuck in the Medicaid coverage gap. With the legislature still in session, the fate of Healthy Utah is still up in the air.
In Texas, Drs Robert Luedecke and Anna Tran launched a Texas Medicaid Task Force to fight to expand access to care for over one million people in the state with no health coverage. State leaders have thus far refused to close the gap, but the fiscal and human costs continue to grow – making expansion harder to ignore. To keep up the momentum, doctors are helping to organize a statewide coverage expansion advocacy rally this month in the state capitol.
KING V. BURWELL
Millions of Americans are at risk of losing their subsidies if the U.S. Supreme Court rules against the Affordable Care Act in the King v. Burwell case. If subsidies are struck down it would spell disaster for our patients and an unraveling of the insurance marketplaces. That’s why physcians from across the country convered on the steps of the Court on the day of oral arguments to urge the justices not to take away care from millions of newly covered Americans. From the news coverage, it’s clear our call to put patients over politics was heard loud and clear.
Check out the highlights from our rally below. And, view pictures from our King v. Burwell album!
MSNBC featured Dr. Alice Chen leading the crowd at the rally in the opening of the Ed Show.
Did we mention The New York Times featured our docs and signs on their front page?! The story also features a video from the day with our very own medical student Henry Greyner talking about why this case is so important.
The Washington Post praised advocate’s organizing at the rally: “If good organization could win a legal debate, supporters of the Affordable Care Act would triumph at Wednesday’s Supreme Court arguments over the law known as Obamacare.”
Drs. Alice Chen, Manisha Sharma, Kevin Burns and Arthur Lavin completed 31 interviews on Radio Row!
- “The ACA is deeply embedded in the healthcare system. To suddenly remove such an enormous number of people and tax credits would undermine the insurance markets. That would reverberate across the system.” - Dr. Burns
- “If this were to go away, there would be chaos in the medical system.”- Dr. Fagel
#DontTakeMyCare trended nationally on Wednesday
And, #PatientsOverPolitics had 717K impacts and a reach of over 328K!
[Alex Wong/Getty Images]
For more pictures from the King v. Burwell rally check out our album!