It’s March—which signals the home stretch of the open enrollment period that will end on March 31st. Since open enrollment began in October, over 4 million Americans have enrolled in a private health insurance plan through the federal and state-based Marketplaces. In addition, between October and January almost 9 million Americans were determined eligible for Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), largely due to significant expansions of those programs under the Affordable Care Act.
In 2002, there were 1,600 polio cases in India. In 2009, there were 741, nearly half of the world’s cases. On January 13, 2014, India celebrated its third consecutive year of being polio-free. This momentous accomplishment was marked throughout the world. Read more…
By Rep. Rosa L. DeLauro
In 1986, I received news that no woman wants to hear: I had ovarian cancer. Fortunately, my doctors had discovered it by chance at its earliest stage. But to beat the disease, I would have to undergo treatment for several months.
At the time, I was Chief of Staff to Senator Chris Dodd – a tough but rewarding job with long days and not much down time. When I told him about my diagnosis, he said: “Rosa, take all the time you need to get better. Your job will be here when you get back.” And so, without having to worry about my job or paycheck, I underwent radiation treatment for two-and-a-half months. I have been cancer-free ever since.
Today is the Jewish Community Day of Action for Health Care Coverage—and Reform Jews across the country, including at the RAC, NFTY, WRJ and more are taking part.
The goal of the Jewish Community Day of Action is to educate both American Jews and the public at large about their coverage options on the new healthcare Marketplaces. Jewish organizations across the country—large and small, denominational, community-wide, local, and otherwise—are participating in this key effort, with support from the White House’s Office of Public Engagement. The Jewish community chose February 18th because the number 18 represents chai, or life. Our tradition teaches us that human life is of infinite value and that the preservation of life supersedes almost all other considerations. As Jews, we believe that God endowed humanity with the understanding and ability to become partners with God in making a better world. The use of our wisdom to cure illnesses has been a central theme in Jewish thought and history.
We are thus inspired to ensure that as many Americans as possible have access to healthcare. Regardless of the politics around the Affordable Care Act itself, enrollment on the new Marketplace exchanges is a way for individuals and families to obtain more affordable healthcare coverage.
The RAC has rolled out a number of resources in preparation for this Day of Action. At rac.org/health, you’ll find educational and program resources, information about the law, Jewish resources on healthcare, and information on how to “take action,” including our Medicaid expansion action alert and enrollment resources. More specifically, if your congregation is interested in helping to promote affordable healthcare, you should check out our new resource here, or contact me at email@example.com for ideas about how to help promote enrollment in your community.
These resources are not just for today—they are intended to be used through the rest of the enrollment period, which ends on March 31, and to prepare for open enrollment next year.
Enroll America is offering a variety of training and educational opportunities for those interested in enrollment outreach in their communities:
- February 21-23: Get Covered America Volunteer Training Summits
- February – March: Outreach and Enrollment Webinar Series
- March 7-15: National Faith Week of Action
Ensuring that all individuals and families have access to comprehensive and affordable healthcare coverage is one of our key moral obligations. Let’s carry out that obligation by working to educate the public about their options and ensuring that as many of our fellow Americans as possible have access to affordable care.
By Rabbi Fred Guttman
On the Shabbat of February 8, I had the incredible privilege of participating in the seventh annual Moral March on Raleigh, organized by the North Carolina NAACP. In the past when I’ve been asked by local civil rights leaders to attend the Moral March on Raleigh, I was always put in a position of having to choose between the March and Shabbat – and I always chose Shabbat.
In an unexpected move, CVS Caremark announced this morning that it will stop selling tobacco products by October 1st. The massive pharmacy chain, with 7,600 stores across the United States, said the move would cost the company billions in short-term revenue. But the pivot is part of a longer-term strategy for CVS to involve itself more deeply in healthcare. CVS hopes to further define its pharmacies as healthcare providers—many CVS stores already include “MinuteClinics,” which conveniently offer simple diagnoses, flu shots and more. So while the company expects to lose about $2 billion in annual revenue from the move (out of annual revenues of $125 billion), in the longer-term the franchise may stand to gain.
For Jews, preserving life is of the utmost importance and while Reform Jews recognize the centrality of personal autonomy and empathize with those struggling with addiction, our overriding concern for protecting life enjoins us to discourage the use of tobacco products and to protect non-smokers and children from the harmful effects of smoking. Public health advocates hope this represents a landmark moment for the pharmacy industry. In the last 50 years, nearly 18 million Americans have died from smoking-related causes. In a statement, President Obama applauded the decision, calling it a “powerful example” that would ultimately contribute to “saving lives and protecting untold numbers of families from pain and heartbreak for years to come.”
This is the second post in a series on the RAC’s expectations and hopes for President Obama’s State of the Union address on January 28th.
One key issue President Obama is certain to address in his State of the Union address next week is the implementation of the Affordable Care Act. Nearly four years since the law’s passage, the ACA remains a politically contentious topic as states, insurance companies and the federal government implement its provisions. Read more…