+ Oppose Trump’s attacks against people’s access to healthcare, and alignment with the healthcare industries.
+ Support direct, indirect and legislative actions toward a single payer Healthcare-for-All system in Hawai‘i and US.
+ Provide education on healthcare as a human right through a range of platforms, paying special attention to debunking common misconceptions regarding Healthcare-for-All costs, effectiveness and outcomes.
+ Ensure equitability access to healthcare through an intersectional lens to include variables such as disability, class, ethnicity, gender and sexuality.
+ Collect and disseminate personal stories on why healthcare reform is important. (see below)
We are collecting personal stories on why healthcare reform is important. Please share yours with us.
At my first meeting with an orthopedic specialist he walked into the examining room, looked at me, left in confusion, only to re-enter and tell me that based on my X-ray he expected to find a woman in her eighties. This was in 2006 and I had just turned 25. This was the beginning of my journey with an autoimmune form of arthritis, which required physical therapy and a hip replacement. I quickly found out autoimmune diseases are considered pre-existing conditions thus treatments were not covered. A hip replacement would cost me over $40,000 out of pocket, which I had to forgo due to the financial burden it would place on me and my family. I ended up living with severe chronic pain for a number of years.
When the ACA passed in 2010 I was able to receive my operation, but I learned a few years later that the disease had spread elsewhere, and I would probably need to remain on specialized treatments for the rest of my life.
The ACA has helped but there are still many barriers to getting treatments. I frequently have to challenge insurance companies’ denial of coverage, or deal with red tape to gain access to treatments that they deemed too experimental or too costly.
Since Trump took office I have felt intense cycles of fear. Trump and congress’ repeated attempts to sabotage of our current healthcare system targets me and many of the most vulnerable people in the US. Healthcare needs to be supported as a basic human right.
My family immigrated to the US from the Philippines. My dad and my four brothers all worked as farm workers. In order to avoid insurance, my youngest brother was given limited work hours by his employer. He also couldn't get his own insurance because under US law, “Green Card” holders have to wait for five years before we are allowed to enroll in health insurance under Medicaid. Without coverage by his employer and one month shy of completing his 5-year waiting period, my brother started having abdominal pains. He suffered silently for days hoping it would get better. Unfortunately his appendix burst, causing a blood infection, and needed surgery and hospitalization. The bill was more than $20,000. His 3-night hospital stay alone was $16,000. This had a devastating effect on my family’s finances for many years. My brother blamed himself for the calamity and continues to do so. No one should suffer from the financial consequences of getting sick. Healthcare is a human right.
I had cancer about 10 years ago. I had surgery and a follow-up treatment of chemotherapy consisting of a daily pill. Fortunately my health plan under my employer covered 90% of my surgery. The pill that would have costed me $100 a day, I only had to pay $1. If not for this support I would have lost my entire life savings. During my convalesce I stayed with my partner in Toronto. With my Canadian residency, I was covered under its universal healthcare. I found myself in doctors' offices surrounded by fellow patients that were totally different from what I encountered in the US. The patients were so diverse, ranging from those who are clearly very wealthy alongside those who are impoverished. And when we were done with our appointment, none of us had to pay!!! This scene of equitable distribution of care was mind-blowing for me. It was at this moment that I had a clear picture of the type of society I want to be a part of. It was this moment that showed me the cruelty of the US healthcare system. I have been a supporter of Healthcare-for-All ever since.
Watch a Lecture by Stephanie Woolhandler "Single Payer: The Cure for Our Health System"
Stephanie Woolhandler, is an Associate Professor of medicine at the HMS-affiliated Cambridge Health Alliance. She investigates disparities and inequalities in healthcare and medicine. In recent years, she has published studies on the relative cost and effectiveness of the Canadian healthcare system. In published editorials and on Capitol Hill, Dr. Woolhandler has argued for full-scale reform of the current system here in the U.S. Last year, she uncovered insurance shortfalls for American military veterans, and her most recent research found unexpected disparities in the way free prescription drug samples are distributed.