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Yesterday our NC Justice Center health group was down in Washington, NC hosting a meeting to discuss the Affordable Care Act, signing up and the need for NC to close the coverage gap by expanding Medicaid.  The Washington Daily News announced the event and the Metropolitan AME Zion Church graciously opened its doors to us and local Affordable Care Act counselor Claudia Stokes gave her perspective as well.  Stokes and her staff, working long hours out of the local community health center, have enrolled hundreds and hundreds of residents in affordable coverage down in one of the most rural areas of our state.

The NC Justice Center’s Adam Linker addresses the audience:

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Last year Retta Riordan, a small business owner in Apex, was uninsured.  She had pre-existing health conditions so serious one insurance company called her “uninsurable.” She was willing to pay even a fairly large premium for health coverage but couldn’t get a plan.  While uninsured, Retta injured her knee and literally could barely walk.  Since the Affordable Care Act in 2014 now bans insurance companies from charging higher premiums or refusing coverage for anyone with a pre-existing health condition, Retta was finally able to buy a plan.  In January, thanks to the Affordable Care Act, Retta was able to get the surgery she so desperately needed to walk normally again. Rita’s message for politicians who would repeal the Affordable Care Act? “Put yourselves in the shoes of those of us who have been uninsured.”

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Anna and Mark’s great story of how they finally got affordable health coverage is detailed in a post by Lauren Chesson at the NC Council of Churches.  Chesson describes how serious pre-existing health conditions eventually made health coverage completely unaffordable for these two self-employed professionals but, with the Affordable Care Act, they are now able to get quality coverage:

Unfortunately, the cost of premiums to cover Anna became so unmanageable that they had to drop her coverage, even though she also would be considered as having a pre-existing condition if they sought insurance in the future. They both waited eagerly for a year and a half for the implementation of the Health Insurance Marketplaces through the Affordable Care Act, when they could no longer be denied health insurance for pre-existing conditions and would have an opportunity to access a premium tax credit.  [Read the full post here.]

 

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This week Charlotte mom Kimberly Tonyan came to the NC General Assembly to tell her success story of getting affordable health coverage for herself and her two daughters.  Using the Affordable Care Act’s www.healthcare.gov website she was able to purchase a great Blue Cross plan for herself and her daughters for around $25 a month. Get past the nasty political advertisements and the jeers of “Abominable Care Act” from so-called impartial experts and this is the reality. Real families getting good, affordable coverage.  Sign-up deadline is March 31 – check out www.healthcare.gov or call 1-855-733-3711 for a local appointment with a nonprofit health navigator and get signed up!

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fact sheet scr shotToday the NC Justice Center released a new fact sheet titled “North Carolina’s Medicaid Choice: Options and Implications.”  The fact sheet gives a brief overview of the current national picture on state Medicaid expansion decisions to use federal money available under the Affordable Care Act.  It also gives more detail about who is in this coverage gap in NC and how other states – even states with very conservative leadership – are moving forward to improve coverage and care.