Thank you to everyone who came out to our 2014 Health Care Heroes Dinner! Without the continued support of individuals and organizations dedicated to health access and equity we would not be able to do this work.
With over 100 attendees this year, a major theme from the past year was celebrating the success of Healthy Michigan (or Medicaid expansion). Many leaders of free clinics discussed the impact that Healthy Michigan has had on their clients, including Health Care Hero, Jill Pavka of St. Peters Free Clinic in Hillsdale. We were also able to honor the hard work and dedication of the Health Care Hero who helped advocate for Medicaid expansion through the legislature with bipartisan support, MDCH Director Jim Haveman. Other Health Care Heroes honored were State Senator Vincent Gregory for his efforts serving on the bipartisan committee that push for the Healthy Michigan legislation and Amy Lynn Smith who helped keep Medicaid expansion stories in the media and on people’s radar.
The 2014 Dinner was capped off by the reflections of nationally renowned speaker, Wendell Potter, on the problematic practices of large, for-profit health insurance companies. His own experience working to fight against health reform during President Clinton’s term has made Potter wary of the concessions made in the most recent health reform to insurance companies. Mr. Potter concluded that we all need to stay vigilant of health insurance companies as the past year has been one of increased profits for insurance companies.
In the next year, MICHUHCAN is focused on getting more people enrolled in Healthy Michigan which already has over 300,000 people signed up. We received a grant to focus our efforts on helping individuals understand their new health care options and benefits now that they have health coverage. This health literacy initiative will be our main focus in the coming year. With new health coverage comes a whole new set of terms, acronyms, and procedures to understand. We want to make sure people are getting health coverage and utilizing it to stay healthy.