For years we worked hard, calling and visiting legislators, rallying, and spreading the word to help pass the Affordable Care Act, a landmark first step on the path to achieving care for all.
On October 1, our patients and families started signing up for healthcare under our state’s new healthcare exchange or through expanded Medicaid services.
We won’t stop until everybody has access to care, and today that means ensuring implementation of our state’s healthcare exchange and the expansion of Medicaid which will bring the promise of care to more than 300,000 Washington residents.
SEIU Healthcare 1199NW nurses and healthcare workers are spreading the word about affordable care and helping to sign up new applicants for healthcare coverage. Working in our facilities and in our communities, we’re committed to making sure every single Washingtonian who qualifies for coverage takes advantage of this rare opportunity.
We know that our healthcare system works best when everyone has access to preventative care and we’re thrilled to be a part of bringing access to that care to as many people as possible. Medicaid expansion will provide primary and preventive care including vaccines, cancer screenings, and mental health care. The program will save Washington’s state budget $225 million dollars in the next biennium alone, generating a needed boost to our economy through federal funds, economic stimulus, and a productive workforce.
Here’s how SEIU Healthcare 1199NW members are helping to spread the word:
“As a nurse at Harborview I see a lot of people who don’t have health insurance. Every day they choose not to go to the doctor to get the care they need. Then they end up in the hospital for something that was easily treatable. It breaks my heart to see this, and that’s why I’m working to spread the word on the Affordable Care Act. We’ve been talking with patients and our fellow coworkers in the cafeteria of the hospital, talking about what the law means and where patients can find more info. I’ve talked to a few hundred people and they’re all grateful for information. We’ve also been talking with small business owners and helping our community understand that care is available to them.” -Vanessa Patricelli, RN, Harborview
“We worked so hard to make affordable healthcare available to everyone, I jumped at the chance to take time away from my job to help inform my co-workers and public about their options. One of my co-workers lost his health care coverage when he dropped his FTE in order to go back to school. Because he was uninsured, any illness or injury could have been financially devastating. Thanks to the ACA, he will now have health insurance!” – Denice Bischofberger, RN Group Health PACU
“I have several friends who are working people, but don’t have healthcare. They all qualify for Medicaid expansion and didn’t even know. One friend, for example–I was able to convince her to look online and she qualified for the low-cost option on the exchange. Now she’s going to keep up on her healthcare needs, the check-ups and screenings she needs, and it will make a big difference in her life. I urge you to talk to friends and extended family about Medicaid expansion. Tell them to check out the website and see what’s available–you have nothing to lose and everything to gain.” – Trish Karn, Grill Cook, Dietary Services, Valley Medical Center
“I’ve worked as an LPN in our community for decades, I know my patients trust me with information about their healthcare, and they also trust their local church because that’s also like family. If we’re going to be successful to help people sign up for healthcare, we need to start where people feel the most at home, and for many folks that starts with our faith based community. That’s why we’re working with the Tacoma Ministerial Alliance, a network of local churches.” – Sharon P. Williams, LPN
“In my role as a Social Worker/Mental Health Worker, I have worked with many individuals without health coverage and have seen the problems first hand of having only access to “ER medicine” where people get huge bills from just trying to take care of their healthcare needs. It is very important that people now have access to affordable primary care. We tabled in the cafeteria to pass out information. Several workers were discussing that they have family members who do not have health coverage and wanted to provide them information so they could check on the costs and coverage options. I have been in touch with six different community organizations including REWA, Healthpoint, and Washington CAN in attempt to get printed materials in other languages to expand our outreach work in the community. We met with two key leaders in the Ethiopian and Somali communities to assist in getting information out to these communities. We will continue to assist these leaders in getting the information out to local churches and community centers.” – Kimela Vigil, MSW, LICSW, Harborview Medical Center
For individuals just above the threshhold for qualifying for the Medicaid expansion and those who need to shop around to buy their own health insurance, Washington’s new healthcare marketplace is open for enrollment October 1. Find out if you are eligible for subsidies to help with the cost of healthcare and get more information about health plans at Washington Health Plan Finder. http://www.wahealthplanfinder.org/