Healthcare Victories

Stories of skyrocketing healthcare costs and anger about lack of access to insurance drove leaders from the following organizations into fights that resulted in the following healthcare victories :

Lowering the Cost of Medical Equipment in Dallas (2011)

Dallas Medical Equipment Exchange - wheelchair overlooking the skylineActing on stories from people desperately needing medical equipment, DAI leaders established the Durable Medical Equipment Exchange to acquire, sanitize (per state code) and distribute gently used medical equipment. This Exchange provides Dallas and Fort Worth residents with access to wheelchairs, hospital beds and walkers at an affordable cost.

Making Pre-Natal Care Possible in Ames, Iowa (2011)

Ribbon cutting ceremony at inauguration of pre-natal clinicAfter a prolonged fight, AMOS leaders succeeded in establishing a free pre-natal care clinic for uninsured women in an under-served county north of Des Moines. The ambulatory clinic is staffed with volunteer medical personnel and focuses on neighborhoods with the least access to affordable healthcare. The launch of the mobile pre-natal care clinic drew public recognition from the Catholic Campaign for Human Development, with a laudatory letter by Director Ralph McCloud celebrating the achievement with the statement: “AMOS saves lives.”

Fighting for Children’s Health Insurance in Texas (2007)

Following draconian budget cuts to children’s health insurance in 2003, the Network of Texas IAF Organizations spent the next two legislative sessions working to restore full funding for families earning up to 200% of the poverty line. In 2007, the bill to expand coverage languished for seven weeks in the Senate Finance Committee after passing the House chamber. The Texas IAF Network leaders publicly confronted the Lt. Governor at a press conference, calling on him to stop blocking the bill. After negotiating a compromise eligibility provision that allowed for income verification checks for families between 185% and 200% of the federal poverty threshold, the bill passed, with its author crediting the Texas Network leaders for the success. This made an additional 127,000 children eligible for health care in Texas.

Lowering Medical Costs for the Uninsured in Iowa (2006)

In a 2004 house meeting campaign, W/SWIAF affiliate A Mid-Iowa Organizing Strategy (AMOS) began hearing stories about the crushing burden of medical debt. Through research actions, leaders discovered that insurance companies were negotiating 50 – 60% hospital discounts for their customers which then led to grossly inflated hospital charges for the uninsured. An extensive period of conversation and negotiation with hospital CEOs led to a commitment from all area hospitals to discount their charges to the uninsured at the same rate those with insurance receive, about 55% on average. The two largest hospital systems also committed to expanding their charity care policies, resulting in an additional $3 million in assistance to lower-income patients in the first year alone.

Expanding Indigent Aid in Texas (1985)

In the summer of 1985, the Texas Legislature approved the historic Indigent Health Care legislation that for the first time made clear that the state had a role in financing social programs for low income residents. The Texas IAF Network was at the center of the issue throughout the legislative session. When a filibuster killed the legislation at the end of the session, leaders and their legislative allies confronted Governor Mark White with a call for an immediate special session, lest the momentum be lost. The legislation passed the special session in just three days, and was much broader than originally anticipated by the political leadership.