BCU, LHC AND COMMUNITY MEMBERS MARK ONE-YEAR ANNIVERSARY OF HEALTH CARE LAW
Wednesday, March 23, 2011
BROOKLYN CONGREGATIONS UNITED, LUTHERAN HEALTHCARE AND COMMUNITY MEMBERS MARK ONE-YEAR ANNIVERSARY OF HEALTH CARE LAW
Chief speakers include Caya Lewis, Chief of Staff, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, and Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez
Event is Part of National Faith Community Campaign to Make Law Work for Families
March 23, 2011, Brooklyn, NY...On, March 22, in commemoration of the one-year anniversary of the Affordable Care Act, Brooklyn Congregations United, Lutheran HealthCare and community members, will gather for a press conference to announce important local advances in implementing the new health care law. The event, held at Sunset Park Family Health Center, 5610 2nd Avenue, Brooklyn, New York 11220, features members of Brooklyn Congregations United, an alliance of clergy and leaders from more than 20 congregations in Brooklyn, and Lutheran Family Health Centers.
The passage of the Affordable Care Act is already beginning to change our broken healthcare system, making quality care affordable for millions of families. It's an opportunity to improve the health of families and the health of our economy. "As people of faith, we believe in the dignity of every person and that we all deserve quality health care," states Rev. David Rommereim, pastor of Lutheran Church of the Good Shepherd and Vice Chair of Brooklyn Congregations United.
The groups today hope to help educate Brooklyn community members that still have concerns and questions about how the law can help them. Many people don't know what's actually in the ACA and how they can benefit. For instance: the law prevents insurance companies from discriminating against people with pre-existing conditions and dropping their coverage when they need it most; it provides tax breaks for small businesses to provide insurance to their employees; the law invests in training more doctors, nurses and community health workers and expands health clinics, making it easier for families to see a doctor; it allows young people to stay on their parents' insurance plans until they are 26-years old; the law provides security for those who lose their jobs to not have to forego health insurance; and it keeps costs down and helps Americans stay healthier by eliminating co-pays on preventative visits like mammograms and physicals.
Caya Lewis, Chief of Staff, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, stated that "Because of the Affordable Care Act, the 2.8 million people on Medicare in New York can now receive free preventive services as well as free annual wellness visits with their doctors. Those affected by the donut hole will, for the first time this year, be given a 50% discount on brand name prescription drugs. The ACA is making a real difference for seniors."
Congresswoman Nydia Velázquez stated "The Affordable Care Act will allow more children, seniors and young adults to live longer, healthier lives. Fewer Americans will lose coverage because of pre-existing conditions or aging out of their health insurance, while more small businesses will be able to provide health benefits for their employees." The Congresswoman also reported that New York will receive $8 billion dollars in new Medicaid dollars due to the Affordable Care Act.
Leaders in Brooklyn are working tirelessly to ensure that the health care law has real benefits in the community. The event highlighted new tools provided through the Affordable Care Act to increase quality and lower the cost of care.
"The Lutheran Family Health Centers network is excited to celebrate the one-year anniversary of the Affordable Care Act," says Larry K. McReynolds, Executive Director, Lutheran Family Health Centers. "The law is providing a means for health centers, like Lutheran, to plan and create innovative community-based care models to be developed in the future to address high need populations to increase quality and decrease cost."
The Affordable Care Act provides funding to support a health system that keeps patients healthier with coordinated and preventative care and expanding our services. The Act incentivizes health centers to use electronic health records, improving the coordination and patient safety. Now a doctor can know instantaneously what immunizations a patient has received, allergies to medication, prescribed drugs, and chronic conditions among other important information that is vital in providing high quality care.
Anna Biele-Fisher, member of Brooklyn Congregations United, states "I am here today to share that I obtained health insurance coverage this past November 2010 under the New York State Bridge Plan. I have been without health insurance for more than 5 years after my COBRA coverage under my parents' health plan for dependent children expired. I am now covered under a provision for people with pre-existing conditions. This coverage has only come into existence since the passage of the Affordable Care Act. I am now covered under a contract that includes physician visits, in-hospital care, laboratory tests, physical therapy and a drug plan. It is a relief to have access to medical care after many years without during which time I paid out-of-pocked for doctor's visits and medications. There are certainly areas where my coverage could work better for me, but it is a tremendous relief to know that I am covered for necessary medical care and costly maintenance prescription medication."
BCU and Lutheran HealthCare were joined by the Arab American Association of New York, Queens Congregations United for Action, and many other community partners.
Brooklyn Congregations United (BCU) is a multi-faith, multi-ethnic community-based organization, developing powerful grassroots leaders. These leaders work to build strong relational networks within and among congregations to transform conditions for families in Brooklyn. Accomplishments range from improving local transportation services to strengthening consumer protection laws against unscrupulous notaries serving immigrants. BCU is a member of PICO National Network, comprising 1,000 member congregations in 17 states. Together, BCU and PICO work to bring positive change to communities. Ten events are being held across the country as part of the network's Bring Health Reform Home campaign.
Photographed above from left to right: Reverend David Rommereim, pastor of Lutheran Church of the Good Shepherd and Brooklyn Congregations United (BCU) Vice-Chair; Rev. Dr. Samuel Fook Wong, President Sunset Park Health Council; Larry K. McReynolds, Executive Director, Lutheran Family Health Centers; Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez; Caya Lewis, Chief of Staff, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services; Anna Biele-Fisher, member of Brooklyn Congregations United; Touria Berrada, community member and patient at Lutheran Family Health Centers; Joan Tropnas, Chair, Brooklyn Congregations United; Claudia Caine, Chief Operating Officer, Lutheran HealthCare.
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