If you weren’t in Washington, D.C. this week at the United State of Women Summit, we have to say, you missed out on an inspiring event. Thousands of activists gathered to discuss the critical issues that women and girls face today. As part of the summit I had the opportunity to speak on a panel at the “Healthy Women, Healthy Families” meeting.
Secretary of Health and Human Services Sylvia Matthews Burwell opened up the meeting by celebrating the impact of the Affordable Care Act (ACA): “The uninsured rate for adult women dropped in half since the ACA went into effect.” Her remarks were followed by a panel discussion on Access, Affordability and Quality that explored some of the challenges still remaining.
Two of those challenges are the lack of education about how health insurance works, and the gap in coverage for women in states that haven’t expanded Medicaid. Raising Women’s Voices (RWV) is leading two important initiatives to combat these issues. Our grassroots-led outreach efforts helped us to understand how badly women need help understanding how to use their new health insurance. My Health, My Voice: A Woman’s Step-by-Step Guide to Using Health Insurance came about because of that need, and now we have resources available in both Spanish and English.
Twenty million people have gained coverage through the ACA. However, access is still limited for those that live in the 19 states that have yet to expand Medicaid. If all 50 states closed the coverage gap, millions more uninsured people would gain access to the health care they need. RWV has been active in this Medicaid fight by launching an organizing and advocacy toolkit, Cover Our Families, to help grassroots organizers build momentum for Medicaid expansion in their states.
The fight for expanding health care access continues. The United State of Women Summit was yet another platform to get the word out on these very important issues that affect women. The National Women’s Health Network proclaims that they will continue to educate women about the ACA and work toward Medicaid expansion.
What is your proclamation? To learn more about how you can advocate for Medicaid expansion in your state or educate yourself about your health insurance coverage, check out the Raising Women’s Voices website.