It's been a busy summer for AIDS advocates. The health care reform debate is heating up and so are opportunities for people living with HIV and allies to be involved in the creation of a National HIV/AIDS Strategy (NHAS). People, get ready...
In this email you will find brief updates on (1) healthcare reform and (2) community involvement in the NHAS, including actions you can take immediately.
1. Make your voice heard in Health Care Reform
Health care reform is a critical issue for everyone in the United States, and especially for people living with HIV, who are less likely to have insurance coverage through employers and are disproportionately impacted by rating and exclusions based on health status and gender. Unfortunately there are a lot of vicious lies and rumors going around about what's really on the table. As a result, we're losing ground on many of the issues important to women affected by HIV, such as:
* A strong public insurance option
* Expansion of Medicaid coverage to all low-income individuals
* Ending discriminatory practices in private insurance, including ratings and exclusion based on gender, age, pre-existing conditions, and health status
* Upholding women's access to a full range of sexual and reproductive health services, including family planning, in both private and public health care options
What you can do:
a) Join a community HIV Healthcare Reform call which is open to all community members, organized by the HIV Health Care Access Working Group. We will have special guests to provide updates and discuss how you can help. It is essential that the voices of people living with or at risk for HIV and HIV advocates are heard in this highly charged and rapidly moving health care reform debate!
Thursday, August 20, 2009
2:00 pm Eastern/ 11:00 am Pacific
Toll-free: 1-866-398-9973 or Regular phone line:1-719-867-1472
Access Code: 898086
Note: To help save costs, please use the toll-free option only if necessary.
1. Update on Legislation and Congressional Activities (Tim Westmoreland, from the office of Congressman Henry Waxman, a key author of the House bill)
2. Communications Campaign and Messaging (David Munar, AIDS Fdn of Chicago)
3. Grassroots Action Steps
4. Announcements, Questions, Discussion
b) In the meantime, check out and USE these talking points on health care reform: http://womenhiv.org/node/589 . The next two weeks are the best time for a face-to-face with your U.S. Senators, Representative, and their key staff -- they are on recess and should be showing up in your district. And... the insurance lobby aren't the only folks who can take over town hall meetings! Go here to find out about healthcare town hall meetings near you: http://healthcareforamericanow.org.
Check out the tipsheet on meeting with your federal legislators at www.pwn-usa.org and if you can't get a meeting, crash their office with your story and message.
b) Tell your healthcare story if you haven't already. These stories will be used to educate lawmakers and media about the critical importance of healthcare reform in the fight against HIV/AIDS. It's easy - just go to http://tinyurl.com/HIVhealthcarestories. We need stories from people who rely on public programs such as Ryan White, Medicaid, Medicare, as well as people who have private health insurance.
2. Be part of herstory - help create the National HIV/AIDS Strategy
In 2007, HIV advocates from around the country came together to demand a coordinated, outcomes-oriented national response to the U.S. HIV/AIDS epidemic. As a result of sustained community advocacy, during his campaign, President Barack Obama committed to developing and implementing a National HIV/AIDS Strategy (NHAS). The White House Office of National AIDS Policy has decided to hold public town hall meetings throughout the U.S. and in the U.S. Virgin Islands to learn what is happening in local and regional areas.
Women and HIV advocates had some additional proposals...