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Need new health insurance NOW?

If you experience certain life changes, you don’t have to wait for Open Enrollment in November to enroll in affordable health coverage on healthcare.gov or your state’s marketplace. You have 60 days after the following events to apply for a Special Enrollment Period and enroll:

• Moving to a new zip code or county
• Getting married or divorced
• Having a baby, adopting or becoming a foster parent
• Becoming a U.S. citizen or getting a green card

You have 60 days before or after the following to enroll: 

• Losing your health insurance from your job
• Turning 26 and aging off your parent’s health plan

And if you are experiencing domestic violence and want to apply for your own health plan, you can do so at any time.

Learn more about Special Enrollment Periods at healthcare.gov or call 1-800-318-2596.

 

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RWVoices

Thursday
May302019

Trump's new rule would allow even more discrimination

Trump's new rule would allow even more discrimination

Late last week, the Trump administration issued a proposed rule undermining the nondiscrimination provision of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Section 1557, also known as the Health Care Rights Law, prohibits any health program or activity that receives federal funding from discriminating against individuals on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, age, or disability. The Trump proposal seeks to eliminate protections against discrimination for LGBTQ people and for individuals who have had or are seeking abortions, while simultaneously doubling down on religious exemptions that allow health care providers to deny care on the basis of their personal beliefs.

This proposed rule would likely subject members of the LGBTQ community to renewed, and possibly intensified discrimination in health care, such as in denial of gender transition services, purposeful misgendering, improper hospital room assignments and improper or hostile treatment by health care providers. It could also mean that patients could be denied medically-indicated terminations of pregnancy, such as in cases of reproductive emergencies.

In May 2016, the Obama administration issued final regulations implementing Section 1557 that interpreted “sex” in such a way as to bar discrimination against people based on pregnancy, gender identity, sex and gender stereotypes, or abortion. However, in December of that year, Texas federal court judge Reed O’Connor issued a nationwide injunction blocking key portions of the rule, including discrimination on the basis of gender identity or termination of pregnancy. (If O’Connor’s name sounds familiar, that’s because he’s the judge behind the “bananas” ruling in late 2018 striking down the entire ACA. That case is still pending.

Following release of the rule and before O’Connor’s injunction, victims of gender identity discrimination were briefly able to file complaints with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office of Civil Rights (OCR). Analysis of those complaints by the Center for American Progress (CAP) reveals just how critical those protections are. CAP found that “transgender patients who filed complaints were often denied [health care] in general, unrelated to transition-related treatments, solely because of their gender identity. … [H]ealth care providers most often discriminate against transgender people simply for being who they are.”

The Trump administration’s refusal to defend the rule or appeal O’Connor’s ruling, combined with separate court cases upholding protections for gender identity directly under the statutory language of 1557 itself, have left protections for trans health care in legal limbo ever since. Trans people may still be able to sue in the courts but unable to use the administrative remedies available through OCR.

On Friday, the Trump administration framed their current 1557 rewrite as necessary for complying with O’Connor’s ruling. In fact, HHS is simultaneously ignoring those contradictory decisions from other courts while going far beyond O’Connor in attempting to unwind longstanding protections written across a host of federal laws. For example, the Trump rule would erase such protections from all HHS health care regulations including those governing ACA marketplaces, Qualified Health Plans, Medicaid, and the Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly. Even the ability of patients with limited English proficiency to receive information in their native languages is under attack in the proposal, spun as a way for insurers to cut costs.

Although the proposed rule may never go into effect and does not change the underlying law regardless, that may not be necessary to harm trans people and people seeking abortion care. Many patients will be afraid to seek health care in the first place or to speak up if they are turned away. Many biased providers will feel emboldened to discriminate free from consequence.

Furthermore, the rule is the latest in a series of extremist policies being pushed through the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services by Vice President Mike Pence and what Politico labeled his “Indiana mafia.” Women’s and LGBTQ health advocates have long feared a Pence presidency but the truth is that it’s already here.

As the Washington Post reported, “the proposal is part of a broader effort by religious conservatives in the Trump administration” to attack protections for transgender people beyond health care and across the entire federal government. “The Department of Housing and Urban Development on Wednesday proposed a rule that would allow federally funded shelters to turn away transgender people for religious reasons or force them to use bathrooms and sleeping areas that do not conform to their gender identity. A March 12 memo from the Defense Department outlined a policy that bans enlistment by anyone with a gender dysphoria diagnosis who is taking hormones or has transitioned to another gender. In addition, troops already in the military would have to serve according to the sex stated on their birth certificates.”

What can you do?

Before the proposed rule can be finalized, the administration must accept comments from the public and explain why each unique criticism, grouped by theme, is addressed in the final rule. The more comments they receive, the longer the delay before they can finalize the rule.

It is a critical time for you to voice your opinions about the repercussions of these proposed changes. (However, individuals should be aware that comments submitted to HHS are public, which may impact the kinds of stories or details individuals are comfortable sharing.)

Once the comment period is open, we will be writing with ways that you can speak up and be counted.

Thursday
May232019

Despite attacks, ACA and abortion supporters move forward

Good news from Washington State

Northwest Health Law Advocates (NoHLA), our Seattle-based regional coordinator, celebrated a the recent passage of SB 5602, the Reproductive Health Access for All Act. The bill, which was signed by Governor Jay Inslee (D) last Monday, aims to eliminate barriers to reproductive health care faced by young people, immigrants, rural residents, transgender and gender non-conforming people, and people of color. Senate Bill 5602, sponsored by Senator Emily Randall (D-26) and championed by Representative Nicole Macri (D-43), enhances anti-discrimination policy to address the discrimination and denials of services many transgender and gender non-conforming people face in receiving reproductive health care services; requires student health plans to cover reproductive health services; mandates hospitals be transparent about policies related to admission, nondiscrimination, and the reproductive health services available at the hospital; and requires the Bree Collaborative to identify guidelines and develop clinical recommendations to improve reproductive health care for people of color, immigrants and refugees, gender-based violence survivors, and people with disabilities.

While the final bill passed without the provision that created a state-funded program to cover comprehensive reproductive health care services for immigrants who currently cannot access state medical services due to federal restrictions, this program will effectively be funded in the budget for two years.

NoHLA, along with partners from the Health Equity Reproductive Rights Organizations (HERRO) Coalition, took the lead in drafting the bill, working with state agency staff to iron out technicalities and conduct outreach to impacted communities. Huma Zarif, NoHLA’s Staff Attorney, testified in support of the bill in the Senate Health and Long Term Care committee, and is pictured below (middle right) at the bill’s signing.

The HERRO Coalition released the following statement after the bill’s signing:
“We are thrilled to see stronger protections for transgender and gender non-conforming people signed into law today. The RHAA takes important steps to dismantle unjust barriers to care and ensure comprehensive, affordable, discrimination-free reproductive health care is within reach for Washingtonians of all gender identities and expressions.

“However, we are concerned that by relegating the state-funded program to a time-limited budget allocation, the Legislature did not fully commit to covering reproductive health services for immigrants on a par with other Washington residents. Immigration status should not be a barrier to accessing health care. We are committed to continuing our work with legislative champions next session to secure meaningful reproductive health care access for all.”

Week of Solidarity to Defend Abortion

Across the country, we have seen an alarming increase of extreme bans on abortion. These bans are diminishing reproductive freedom for thousands and leaving others under attack. Eight abortion bans have passed in Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri, Ohio, and Utah.

Supporters of abortion rights organized two defense efforts this week-- a national Day of Action, and a Week of Solidarity to Defend Abortion.  The week is being organized by women of color-led organizations, including three RWV regional coordinators:  Feminist Women’s Health Center (FWHC), WV FREE and New Voices for Reproductive Justice. The Day of Action was organized by NARAL & other large national organizations in collaboration with hundreds of local and state organizations.

During the Day of Action people gathered in every state to speak out and fight back against the latest attacks on our reproductive rights. “These doors will remain open!” said Kwajelyn Jackson, Executive Director, FWHC (center above). Kwajelyn was joined by many organizations and reproductive advocates who showed their support for abortion at the Georgia state capital. Just two weeks ago, Georgia’s Governor Brian Kemp signed the state’s extreme ban of nearly all abortions, which is set to go into effect in 2020.

WV FREE hosted a Facebook live chat with the Women's Health Center of West Virginia and the American Civil Liberties Union of West Virginia to discuss abortion access in West Virginia and what their constituents can do to protect reproductive rights. The live stream already has over 1,000 views. WV FREE and other organizations also across the country participated in the national twitter storm. “Abortion is still legal in Alabama, Georgia, and every other state the US. These bans will be challenged in court, and we hope they never take effect -- but it’s going to be an uphill battle, and abortion care providers need you.” WV FREE shared via Twitter.

“Cisgender women, trans folk & nonbinary folk must have the freedom to decide when they will have children. Body autonomy is a human right. New Voices stands with the thousands fighting nationally for abortion access and full reproductive rights for all.” said New Voices for RJ.

All week long, we’re spotlighting the folks defending abortion in our states and communities. Follow #AbortionSolidarity to learn more, lift up this crucial work, and plug in.

Elections make a difference, part 2
House passes bill to shore up ACA & tackle high drug prices

In an attempt to undo some of the ways the Trump administration has weakened the ACA, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the MORE Health Education Act last week.  The bill passed with a vote of 234 to 183.  Every “no” vote came from a Republican, despite the fact that the bill also included three drug pricing provisions that will rein in anti-competitive behaviors by pharmaceutical companies.  The measures addressing high drug prices had previously won bipartisan support, which disappeared when the drug pricing provisions were combined with the ACA provisions.  The bill restores funding for enrollment outreach, and rolls back Trump actions to allow skimpier health insurance plans.  The MORE Health Education Act also restores protections for people with preexisting coverage, an important issue for people who might be tempted by the less expensive premiums for skimpy plans, only to discover that the insurance company won’t cover health care they need.  The bill goes next to the Senate, where it faces a difficult road to passage.

 

Thursday
May162019

Wins in Texas & Losses in Alabama

The Texas House passes 12 month postpartum Medicaid bill!

The Afiya Centerour Dallas-based regional coordinator, has been a leader on maternal mortality work, and now has another policy win under their belt. On Monday, the Texas House passed HB 744, which extends Medicaid coverage for women from 60 days to 12 months postpartum. This is the first bill recommended by the Texas Maternal Mortality Task Force to successfully pass one chamber of the state legislature. The Afiya Center provided bill sponsor State Rep. Toni Rose with education on this this issue, helping her and others understand how expanding Medicaid coverage after childbirth can help reduce maternal mortality.

“We believe this legislation will not only go far towards ending Maternal Mortality but also Maternal Morbidity,” said Marsha Jones, executive director of The Afiya Center.  “We are truly excited … that HB744 has passed out of the House.” HB 744 would help reduce maternal deaths and serious complications by extending health care coverage to a full year after birth, in order to detect and treat health conditions before they become damaging or even fatal.
 
The Afiya Center set the stage for this victory by successfully advocating for the passage ofThe Texas Moms Matter Act in 2017.  The act created a Maternal Mortality and Morbidity Task Force within the Department of State Health Services to review cases of pregnancy-related deaths and trends in severe maternal morbidity and to make recommendations about how the state can reduce the unacceptably high rate in Black women. Expanding coverage to women for a full year after childbirth is one of the steps recommended by the Task Force.  The postpartum coverage bill goes to the Senate next, where it must pass before the session is scheduled to end on May 27th

Title X Gag Rule Blocked

We were relieved that the Title X gag rule – which was finalized by the Trump administration in early March – was recently blocked in court. On April 25, Judge Stanley Bastian in the Eastern District of Washington issued a nationwide injunction blocking the Title X gag rule in its entirety, effective immediately. As a reminder, the final rule governing eligibility for Title X planning funds included a number of provisions that would be devastating to the more than 4 million low-income people who use the federal Title X family planning program. If allowed to go into effect, the final rule would:

  • permit Title X funded clinics to give biased and misleading counseling and to withhold information about all reproductive health care options, including medically approved contraceptive methods (such as birth control pills or IUDs)
  • Forbid clinic staff from providing patients with full and accurate information or a referral to an abortion provider
  • prohibit clinics that also offer abortion care from serving Title X patients without creating a whole new clinic first. (Family planning providers are already prohibited from using Title X federal funds to provide abortions.)
  • potentially transfer millions of taxpayer dollars away from real reproductive health clinics and give that money to religiously-affiliated fake clinics.

The April 25 ruling stems from a challenge brought by the National Family Planning & Reproductive Health Association (NFPRHA) along with co-plaintiff Cedar River Clinics and Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson. The preliminary injunction is the first step in the legal process to permanently block the Title X rule. There are currently eight lawsuits against the Title X gag rule, which was set to take effect on May 3. In addition, Judge Michael McShane of the United States District Court for the District of Oregon recently announced from the bench that he would also issue a preliminary injunction in a case brought by Planned Parenthood and the American Medical Association.
 
A new Kaiser poll on the public’s views on reproductive health shows a majority of the public (58%) oppose the Trump administrations changes to restrict Title X funds from clinics that also provide or refer for abortion. The poll also finds that in light of the Trump administration’s actions, 68% of Americans, including three-fourths (76%) of women of reproductive age and nearly half of Republicans (49%), are concerned that the new regulations would limit access to women’s reproductive health and preventive care services.

House of Representatives Votes to Protect Patients with
Pre-existing Conditions

What a difference an election makes!  After Republican-led efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act succeeded in the House of Representatives only to fail by the narrowest of margins in the Senate, the House has taken a stand in support of the ACA.  Last week, a majority of the House, including four Republications, voted in favor of HR 986, the Protecting Preexisting Conditions and Making Health Care More Affordable Act.  The bill would do away with Trump-era guidelines that allow states to use ACA subsidies for skimpy health plans that do not provide full coverage.  RWV and its regional coordinators have warned women and LGBTQ folks against skimpy plans.  They may seem attractive because of lower premiums, but they will leave many people without coverage for crucial services, such as childbirth and cancer screening.  If HR 986 were to pass both chambers and be signed into law, the original intent of the ACA would be restored and all insurance plans would again cover essential services.  However, the bill moves next to the Senate, where it is likely to face stiff opposition.

Alabama Passes Near-Total Abortion Ban

While there’s much to celebrate – from votes to expand postpartum pregnancy related Medicaid coverage to protecting patients with pre-existing conditions – we share the deep concern and outrage over the recent passage of the most extreme abortion ban since Roe v. Wade. This week, the Alabama governor signed into law a bill that bans abortion at every stage of pregnancy, with an exception only to save the life of the patient. There are no exceptions for rape or incest, and doctors who perform abortions could be sent to prison for up to 99 years. This comes on the heels of the passage last week of another draconian law in Georgia that bans abortion after six weeks of pregnancy and before a woman would even realize she is pregnant (see more in last week’s RWV newsletter). We know the real goal of these new laws is to create a court challenge that will give the Supreme Court the opportunity to overturn Roe v. Wade.

Wednesday
May082019

Trump’s religious refusal rule faces legal challenge

Trump’s religious refusal rule faces legal challenge

In a move that disappointed and angered health care activists, the Trump administration issued a rule giving health care providers wide latitude to refuse to deliver health care services.  The move has grave implications for the ability of women and LGBTQ individuals to get health care services they need, as it explicitly allows clinicians and facilities to opt out of providing abortion, assisted reproduction, sterilization and care for transgender individuals.   In a sign of the seriousness of this infringement on people’s health care rights, both the city and county of San Francisco filed suit against the rule the same day it was announced by President Trump. 

 

According to RWV co-founder, Lois Uttley, “Not only individual medical providers, but also hospitals, pharmacies and clinics, will be able to refuse to deliver any health care services to which they have personal or institutional objections. Hospital admitting personnel or ambulance drivers could conceivably cite personal objections to ‘assisting in the performance of’ medical services to which they object.

“What could this mean for patients? Women suffering reproductive emergencies – such as early miscarriages – could be denied prompt, medically-appropriate treatment. Rape survivors could be denied emergency contraception to prevent pregnancies. Transgender and gender nonconforming people could be denied hormones or surgery for gender transition. Same-sex couples could be denied infertility services.”

The rule is scheduled to take effect 60 days after it is published in the Federal Register.  If it goes into effect as written, it will place clinics, hospitals and other health care providers at risk of losing their eligibility for federal programs, such as Medicare, if its provisions aren’t followed.  The rule, which is 440 pages long, consolidates earlier rules shielding individual providers from retribution if they refused to provide health care services such as abortion or sterilization, and expands this protection to include health care entities.  The rule now applies to state governments, home health care providers, front desk staff, insurance companies, ambulance providers and many others. 

The administration issued this rule despite receiving a significant number of comments on itsproposed rule from January 2018. Many of these comments were generated by RWV and its allies, and focused on the harm the rule would cause for women, LGBTQ individuals and other vulnerable populations.   President Trump’s decision to announce the release of the final rule at a National Day of Prayer event makes it appear that he’s more interested in satisfying a voting bloc rather than ensuring people get the care they need. 

Medicaid Expansion win in Montana!

In 2015, Montana Women Vote led the effort to pass Medicaid expansion in the Montana Legislature. Since then, nearly 100,000 Montanans have gained healthcare coverage. That is almost 1 in 10 Montanans. Medicaid expansion has reduced Montana’s uninsured rate from 20% to 7% and has resulted in state savings to Montana’s general fund. Forty eight percent of Medicaid expansion enrollees resided outside of Montana’s seven largest urban areas, and the program covers nearly 16,000 American Indians, roughly 20% of the American Indian population in Montana. Medicaid expansion has been a lifeline for access to healthcare in rural Montana and Indian Country. This year, Montana Women Vote sought to reauthorize Medicaid expansion, as it was set to expire in July, 2019

During the 2019 Montana State Legislature, Montana Women Vote organized thousands of Montanans to make their voices heard and help defend this vital program. They held regular phone banks, submitted over 1,000 comments to lawmakers, held lobby days (photo at right), and rallied with over 400 Montanans from across the state. House Bill (HB) 425 -- which would have lifted the Medicaid expansion sunset and continued Montana’s original Medicaid expansion program without any restrictions or barriers -- was tabled on March 25th. After tabling HB 425, the House Human Services Committee passed House Bill 658, a compromise bill that will continue Montana’s Medicaid expansion program. HB 658 was heavily amended during the process in order to ensure that it protects health coverage, even while establishing community engagement requirements. During the next phase of this effort, Montana Women Vote will work to ensure the program is implemented in a way that protects coverage for Montanans.

Georgia Governor signs heartbeat bill into law

Yesterday, Brian Kemp, GA Governor, signed one of the nation’s most restrictive anti-abortion bills into law. The bill bans abortion once a fetal heartbeat is detected, which normally occurs at 6 weeks, which is before most people even realize they’re pregnant.

Feminist Women’s Health Center (FWHC), our Atlanta-based regional coordinator, has been working around the clock advocating against the bill, sending countless action alerts, organizing rallies, and advocacy days at the state capital. “Even though Kemp has signed the anti-abortion HB 481 bill, abortion is still LEGAL in Georgia right now. We will continue providing safe and compassionate abortion care to all those who need it. And we will continue fighting for our communities to ensure that this bill doesn’t go into effect in 2020, said FWHC.”

FWHC along with many other reproductive advocates will still keep fighting for a strong reproductive justice movement in the South. Georgia’s bill has become a model for other states looking to reduce abortion accessibility. Mississippi, Kentucky, and Ohio have also signed similar bills into law. Nonetheless, this bill is a direct violation of Roe v. Wade and advocates like the Center for Reproductive Rights will be taking legal action to ensure this law doesn’t go into effect.

How do you give back to all the mothers (and mother figures) in your life?

Brunch is nice, but empowering them to take care of their health is better! In honor of Mother’s Day, we’re hosting a Twitter Chat to share insider health tips with all the mamas we love.

You don’t want to miss this opportunity to get the facts from on-the-ground experts in LGBTQ, Latinx, African-American and Asian-American women’s health!

Thursday
May022019

Trump administration issues rule that will increase discrimination against women and LGBTQ people

*UPDATE: The final religious refusal rule has now been released. We will share our analysis in the next update of our blog.

Trump administration poised to issue rules that will increase discrimination against women and LGBTQ people

This week, we have several positive developments to report on from the states. Keep reading to learn more about recent wins in Massachusetts and Maryland!

Meanwhile, on a less positive note, we’re anticipating the release today of two Trump administration rules that will increase health care discrimination against women, transgender and other LGBTQ people seeking health care. The first is a proposed federal rule that we expect will undermine enforcement of  non-discrimination provisions of the Affordable Care Act. This rule will likely roll back portions of a 2016 Obama administration regulation interpreting Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) – the nondiscrimination provision, also known as the Health Care Rights Law. That provision prohibits any health program or activity that receives federal funding from discriminating against individuals on the basis of sex. The Obama rule interpreted sex discrimination to include any discrimination based on an individual’s gender identity, their departure from traditional sex stereotypes  or a patient’s request for, or past history of, termination of pregnancy.

This proposed rule would likely subject members of the LGBTQ community to renewed, and possibly intensified discrimination in health care, such as in denial of gender transition services, purposeful misgendering, improper hospital room assignments and improper or hostile treatment by health care providers. It could also mean that patients could be denied medically-indicated terminations of pregnancy, such as in cases of reproductive emergencies.

We’re also expecting a final rule that will likely expand the ability of health providers to refuse care based on personal religious or moral objections. This rule was proposed in January 2018, and more than 200,000 comments – including comments from RWV and our regional coordinators – were submitted in response.
Taken together, these two rules pose a serious threat to health care access. They are part of a coordinated attack by the Trump-Pence Administration on the health and well-being of patients, particularly women and LGBTQ patients, who are more likely to be subject to discrimination and refused needed health care, such as abortion and transition related services.

We’ll keep you posted as we learn more about these rules, and will highlight upcoming opportunities to speak out against them.

The Cap on Kids has been Lifted!

In Maryland, our regional coordinator, Consumer Health First, has been advocating for the adoption of HB 127/SB 36 - Health Benefit Plans - Special Enrollment for Pregnancy. This legislation – which passed the Maryland General Assembly with unanimous support and now goes to Governor Hogan’s desk for signature – makes pregnancy a "life-qualifying" event and allows people to purchase private insurance through Maryland Health Connection outside of the six-week open enrollment period.

The ACA established an open enrollment period, during which people can purchase their own health insurance through the marketplace. In order to address instances where people’s life circumstances change outside of the open enrollment period, such as marriage, divorce, or losing one’s health insurance, "Special Enrollment Periods" were created. While having a baby is included as a life-qualifying event under the ACA, pregnancy is not. As a result, some uninsured people (who weren’t otherwise eligible for Medicaid) were unable to get prenatal services critical to their own health and the health of their babies.  Under Maryland’s new legislation, after receiving certification of their pregnancy from their health care provider, an individual in the state will have 90 days to apply for coverage. Their coverage will be effective from the first day of the month in which they enroll.

As states across the country are working to address maternal health disparities, Maryland serves as a model for one way to help ensure timely and appropriate maternity care, including prenatal care. This legislation will help provide better health outcomes for mothers and babies, and is particularly important for women of color who are disproportionately impacted by pregnancy-related health disparities. 

Beth Sammis, Consumer Health First President said, “We find it hard to conceive of the fact that, until now, uninsured women could only get health insurance at the time they gave birth and not during the critical prenatal period. That made no sense, and, since 2016 when the legislation was first introduced, we have said so. Now, with the strong leadership of Delegate Ariana Kelly (D-16) and Senator Clarence Lam (D-12) we can ensure that Maryland supports a policy of healthy moms and healthy babies." 

NARAL Pro-Choice Massachusetts, our Boston based regional coordinator, celebrated the recent repeal of the “Cap on Kids” or the “Family Cap.” A law that has been on the books in the state denies welfare benefits to children conceived while or soon after the family receives state assistance. Under the recently repealed law, which originated out of harmful and racist stereotypes about welfare recipients, the state currently denies assistance to approximately 8,700 children.

Legislation to repeal the cap was initially vetoed by Governor Baker, but the legislature successfully overrode the veto. According to Mass Live, a single mother with two children, one of whom was born while the family was on welfare, will see her monthly payment increase from $491 to $593. Until the legislation’s passage, Massachusetts remained one of 16 states to have a family cap, and is now the ninth state to repeal an existing cap. NARAL Pro-Choice Massachusetts celebrated the repeal as a reproductive justice victory. It takes the state one step closer to a world in which every Bay Stater can decide if and when to have children, and be able to feed, clothe, and care for those children. 

Study shows Medicaid Expansion improves health outcomes for black infants

Medicaid Expansion has continued to play a vital role in providing health coverage to millions of Americans across the country. But, what about health disparities? According to a study by Brown and colleagues, published in JAMA, Medicaid Expansion is helping to reduce longstanding disparities between the health of black and white infants.  The study at the health looked at the health of babies born in18 states and Washington, DC, all of which have expanded Medicaid and compared them to babies born in 17 states that have not expanded Medicaid.  The article explains that disparities in preterm birth and low birth weight between black and white infants significantly improved in expansion states.   For years there have been persistent differences between black and white babies in the likelihood that of experiencing these dangerous outcomes.

Medicaid Expansion does not cure anything and everything but what we do know is that black babies are experiencing better outcomes in states that have expanded coverage. Reducing racial disparities continues to be a barrier to true health justice. To see results such as these due to Medicaid eligibility, it’s worth paying attention.

Together for the People

RWV coordinating team members Lois Uttley, Ann Danforth and Cindy Pearson (pictured above) joined 700 supporters of health justice to honor Rob Restuccia and celebrate Community Catalyst and Health Care for All (Massachusetts).   Restuccia, who died of pancreatic cancer earlier this year, served as the executive director of both organizations.  The event raised over $2 million for the organizations’ work to engage and support consumers, protect and defend access to health care, and fight for health justice.  A highlight of the evening was an interactive fundraising activity that raised $150,000 towards the Rob Restuccia Health Justice Organizational Fellowship, an intentional investment in next-generation health advocacy and leadership. 

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