July 1st, 2009

A couple of years ago, I had the privilege of working with the lawyers who filed criminal charges against a local hospital for dumping a homeless woman wearing only hospital gowns on the streets of LA’s Skid Row.  During that time, I commented to one of my co-workers that if we could fix health care in America, we would go along way towards rooting out many of the ills that affect our society.

Well, we are in the midst of a national conversation about a new vision for our health care system and with this discussion comes a great opportunity to eradicate one of the systemic causes of poverty.

Unfortunately, the people of great state of Alabama are not in great health.  (Find out exactly how bad things are here. Here are a couple of highlights:

Alabama is the second most obese state in the country (Mississippi is number one), and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation says that the current economic crisis could exacerbate the obesity epidemic. Food prices, particularly for more nutritious foods, are expected to rise, making it more difficult for families to eat healthy foods. Depression, anxiety and stress, which are linked to obesity for many individuals, also are increasing.

And 1.2 million Alabamians, mostly from working families, were uninsured at some point during 2007 and 2008, according to Families USA.  That means 30.9 percent of the people younger than 65 either lost insurance at some point during those two years, or never had it at all.

I hope that these facts and figures spark you think about your own health care stories. . . and to take part in our national debate about health care.

Here is a good tool to compare all the proposals out there.

There are tons of ways to participate.   One of the best ways is to attend a town hall meeting.  Two are coming up in the next week:

Huntsville-Thursday, July 2
Arise Citizens’ Policy Project & Alabama Appleseed Center for Law & Justice
Health Care Reform Town Hall Meeting with
US Rep. Parker Griffith
5:30 – 6:30 PM
Davidson Center 3D Digital Theater
U.S. Space and Rocket Center
1 Tranquility Base, Huntsville, AL  35805
More info here.

Birmingham-Monday, July 6
Health Care Summit with
US Rep. Artur Davis
5:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.
Alys Stephens Center
1200 10th Avenue South
Birmingham, AL 35294
More info here.

Here are few other resources to get more information and share your stories:

Health Care for America
Families USA
HeathReform.gov from the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services

Hope you all have a peaceful July 4th.