November 18, 2017
 
Health Care for All Gearing Up Campaign to Protect Health Law

November 14, 2016 — Health Care for All, a Boston nonprofit that helped lead healthcare reform in Massachusetts, which then served as the model for similar reform at the national level, today convened a statewide coalition that aims to engage in a major campaign to protect health insurance coverage.

Brian Rosman, policy and government relations director for Health Care for All (HCFA), said the ACT coalition— Affordable Care Today—was to meet today to create an outreach program aimed at educating the public and state and federal officials on the impacts of repealing the federal Affordable Care Act, commonly called Obamacare, as Congressional Republicans and President-elect Donald Trump aim to do.

He said the coalition, which was formed in 2004 to support and implement healthcare reform and includes hospitals, doctors, labor and religious organizations, community groups, and insurers, will also study possible legal action that could be taken in the event it feels litigation is required.

"We want to be ready," Rosman said. "Our main goal is to let federal and state government officials know how important healthcare is for the state's economy and the health of people in Massachusetts."

Rosman said there is discussion in Congress that a repeal bill could be introduced by the end of January, which would likely include different effective dates for different elements to be repealed.

To prepare for the awareness campaign, HCFA plans to ramp up its fundraising efforts to support hiring of additional staff. HCFA currently has a staff of 22 and a $2.5 million operating budget.

Since last Wednesday morning, when Donald Trump won the presidencial election, HCFA said it has experienced an uptick in calls to its hotline from people looking to sign up for healthcare coverage through MassHealth and the Health Connector. MassHealth includes Medicaid and the Children's Health Insurance Program. The Health Connector is the state's marketplace for health and dental insurance.

Open enrollment for Massachusetts healthcare programs began Nov. 1 and, HCFA suggested, individuals may be looking to sign up if they haven’t already to be on a plan in advance of any changes.

"We urge everyone to sign up," Rosman said.

He said Obamacare repeal would result in the loss of health insurance coverage for 22 million nationally.

Enactment of Obamacare in 2010 strengthened Massachusetts programs, which enabled coverage for 300,000 additional people through MassHealth and another 180,000 via the Health Connector, according to Rosman.

"We're four years ahead of rest of the country, which shows that it can work," Rosman said.

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