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Donna Smith

Donna Smith, American SiCKO, is executive director of the Health Care for All Colorado Foundation

May 3rd, 2013 11:59 AM

Health Care Mayday! In Colorado – Leading Health Advocacy Group Calls for Action

It’s May.  It’s American Bike Month, Asparagus Month, Asthma & Allergy Awareness Month, Better Hearing & Speech Month, Flower Month, National Bar-B-Que Month, National Egg Month, National Duckling Month, National Hamburger Month, National Mental Health Month, National Salad Month, National Photo Month, National Physical Fitness and Sports Month, National Strawberry Month, Older Americans Month, and Transportation Month.  And certain weeks in May offer special times of recognition, like, National Postcard Week, Teacher Appreciation Week, National Pet Week, National Police Week, Stuttering Awareness Week, and finally in the last full week before Memorial Day, National Backyard Games Week.

Sadly, we’re adding a designation for May to that list – and we’re calling a health Mayday! For those suffering with health care needs and lack of access to care as well as calling attention to the crippling costs Coloradans face related to our dysfunctional health system.

Colorado’s leading advocacy group for universal, single-payer, public health reform, Health Care for All Colorado (HCAC), has declared May 2013 for our month-long campaign to call attention to the health care crisis that is harming so many of Colorado’s families and communities.

Each day in May, HCAC will feature one of the issues and groups facing challenges with accessing needed care and coverage as well as the struggles to pay for needed care.  Many think that the impending implementation of the federal Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) will put an end to many of these issues when in fact as many as 400,000 Coloradans will remain uninsured after the state’s insurance exchange (or marketplace) is up and running.  Hundreds of thousands more will have insurance coverage but that coverage will be expensive and inadequate in terms of fully covering needed health services – those people will be underinsured.

HCAC knows that we do not have to wait for the fallout from the Affordable Care Act to begin our work to move beyond insurance regulations and mandates to achieving health care as a human right and a public good in Colorado.  Join us in calling for a rapid response to this Mayday! And follow us through the month as we explore all the ways and all the people in need of a sane and just system.

Then, please watch for and engage with us as we work to support the “Health Care is a Human Right” and a public good ballot initiative work in our state.  The language has already been given approval by the Colorado Secretary of State (ballot initiative #12):

“Shall there be an amendment to the Colorado constitution concerning the provision of one public health insurance program to allow all Colorado residents access to a single standard of health care as a matter of human right and public good, and, in connection therewith, requiring the General Assembly to enact legislation creating a public health insurance plan, requiring the Colorado department of revenue to collect a premium not to exceed 9% of an individual’s income to fund the plan, and prohibiting the control or administration of premiums by a for- profit, nonpublic entity or corporation?”

Now we will work with allied individuals, groups and organizations to move forward to gather the signatures we need to get this to our ballot.  Stay tuned. We want and need your support.  When we win this campaign to achieve health care as a human right in Colorado, we’ll surely celebrate that no one will ever again be calling for a health care Mayday!

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