I have an announcement to make to the Dailykos community. I am leaving Progressive Congress Action Fund as I have found full-time employment. I will continue to support nyceve's excellent work with Progressive Congress Action Fund, and look forward to rejoining her full-time sometime in the near future. She is an excellent activist, and she truly does care about the health care system. She wants people to have access to quality health care, and does not want them to fall through the cracks in the next four years before the exchanges start running.
That is why Eve and I started up the Wake UP Congress! campaign to remind politicians in D.C. that their job isn't done yet on health care reform, and to attend the free medical clinic on August 4th.
I also need your help in sending Eve to the free medical clinic and ask our politicians why they think their job's done on health reform.
Please DONATE to send Eve to Washington, D.C. for the medical clinic!
Let me tell you something about Eve. She is a tireless worker, and what motivates her to keep working on health care reform are the memories of the people she's met at other free health clinics, and asking them if they have insurance or not. The stories that these uninsured and underinsured Americans have told Eve are heart-breaking. They can't afford co-pays, deductibles, and only can pay for insurance premiums without seeing their doctor. Those who are uninsured say flat out they just can't afford the insurance, but they also make too much to qualify for Medicaid. These Americans are stuck in between the gray zone that determines being able to have insurance and being able to qualify for Medicare.
And the federal high risk pools that are slated to start enrollment on July 1st, and to begin coverage on August 1st, will be helpful to many Americans, but the funding for this program is slated to possibly run out by 2010 or 2011. States are already planning on enrollment caps for the high risk pool in their state, which means that not every American with a pre-existing condition will be able to enroll in their state's high risk pool if there is an enrollment cap. Here's more about what this entails for the Americans that Eve wants to help out:
The program is "$5 billion more than nothing," said Mark Merlis, the policy analyst and former Congressional Research Service staffer who authored the report. "But, people may have the impression that this magic program is going to help everyone in need right away." That's not the case, he said.
State and federal officials responsible for putting the program into action may have to find ways to extend the money by narrowing who can join and what the program will actually pay for in order to reach the most people, Merlis' report says. And, because the pools are scheduled to launch as early as July, they have little time to make those choices.
But, states will have some leeway in the new program. A pre-existing condition will be defined by state and federal officials, just like state programs do now. For instance, Minnesota's existing high-risk pool considers AIDS and Crohn's disease as acceptable pre-existing conditions for incoming enrollees, but not bipolar disorder. (People with that disorder or other diseases may still be eligible if they have been rejected by private insurers).
States also can decide how rich the benefits will be, so long as the plan meets the 65-percent requirement. That could mean higher deductibles and co-insurance payments for beneficiaries.
And we have a long four years ahead of us before 2014 when the exchanges are slated to start running, and adult Americans finally will have the ban on pre-existing conditions. In the meantime, we need some of these reforms to come online sooner, because for Eve and I, allowing Americans to wait in that grey zone without immediate help is just flat-out wrong.
It's why donations to the Wake UP Congress! campaign are so essential, to help Eve continue the work she's been doing to continually remind Congress not to run away from health care reform, and to fight for worthwhile legislation such as Alan Grayson's "Medicare For All" bill. Eve also has a website for you all, called Expose Insurer Atrocities, so we all can continue shining the light on the abuses by the private insurance industry. You also can follow nyceve's work here on Dailykos on Twitter at nyceve1.
I want to extend a big, hearty THANK YOU to Eve for being a great activist, for bringing me onboard, making me a full partner, and for listening to me on Skype as we talked about the latest health care story nearly every morning. I'll definitely miss seeing Eve on Skype so early in the morning :-) I am proud to know you, Eve, and I consider you one of my closest friends. You have a wonderful smile along with that New Yorker attitude, and even though I've never met you in person, I look forward to one day coming up to you and giving you a big hug.
So watch out for that bear hug from me :-)