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Issues & Victories

Health Care



GCC wins Medicaid Expansion in Ohio

Greater Cleveland Congregations takes much credit for Medicaid Expansion in Ohio, which gives an additional 275,000 Ohioans access to Health Care.  Starting in 2012, GCC created the NEO-MEC coalition with hospitals and other interests, held a 1200-person Assembly at Olivet Institutional Baptist Church to show our support for expansion, lobbied in Columbus 4 times, wrote thousands of letters and made phone calls to our legislators, filled 3 busses on 3 days’ notice to rally on the Statehouse steps, canvassed in 3 local swing districts to urge voters to contact their legislators, wrote an op-ed in the Plain Dealer, and collected 2,500 signatures in 3 weeks during a ballot initiative.

On October 21st, the Controlling Board voted to approve the federal funds to expand Medicaid, and on December 21st, the Ohio Supreme Court upheld this decision. 



Common Ground Launches Healthcare Cooperative

Common Ground Healthcare Cooperative

Common Ground IAF in Southeastern Wisconsin has a solution to skyrocketting healthcare costs: the formation of their own health insurance company: The Common Ground Healthcare Cooperative (CGHC).

Targeting small businesses, non-profits and individuals in the seven counties of Southeastern Wisconsin, the non-profit, member governed cooperative will launch January 1, 2014. The cooperative is funded with a $56 million loan from the federal government through the Affordable Care Act.

Non-profit means any surplus will be invested back into the company for the benefit of its members, helping keep premium costs lower. The organization focuses on working with doctors, hospitals, agents and members so that the best healthcare can be provided at a reasonable rate. A member elected board of directors will give participants a say in how the cooperative operates and – by keeping the books transparent – each individual will know exactly what their premium is used for.

Together the CGHC and Common Ground have initiated the process of enrolling 25,000 to 50,000 between 2012 and 2017.



GBIO wins campaign for health care cost containment in MA

The Greater Boston Interfaith Organization, a lead group inside the coalition that passed Massachusetts' 2006 universal health care law, has made health care history again by organizing overwhelming public support for a new law that will contain the growth of medical costs.  This legislation, like the universal health care law itself, will likely become a model for national reform.  



Common Ground wins a $56 million federal grant to launch an innovate health care cooperative in Milwaukee!

Common Ground, a coalition of religious groups and other organizations, has been awarded a $56.4 million federal loan to start a nonprofit health insurer that would be run by its members.

The money is part of $3.8 billion included federal health care reform to help start nonprofit health insurers, similar to cooperatives, to compete in the market for individuals and small businesses.

The loans are to help the nonprofit health insurers - referred to as CO-OPs, for Consumer Operated and Oriented Plans - with start-up costs and to meet requirements that insurers maintain minimum reserves to pay claims.



Over 500,000 in Massachusetts have health care thanks to GBIO.

Tananya Henry of the Greater Boston Interfaith Organization cheers the hard work that led to the Massachusetts health reform law -- which has since provided health insurance coverage to nearly 1/2 million people all across the state, including many member of her own Roxbury church.


In the News


Common Ground Health Care Co-op Enrollment Surges

Friday, December 13, 2013
Business Journal

Common Ground Healthcare Cooperative, a creature of an Obamacare initiative for nonprofit customer-owned health plans, has enrolled more than 2,200 Wisconsinites so far — and 75 percent to 80 percent of them enrolled via the online health-insurance marketplace.

Bob De Vita, chief executive officer of Brookfield-based Common Ground, said he is confident the co-op will meet his goal of signing 10,000 people by the end of 2014.

“I would say with 19 counties in our service area, we’re going to be able to eclipse that,” he told an audience at the Milwaukee Press Club downtown at a luncheon Wednesday. “It’s a bold statement to make, but I think we’re going to do it.”

 


GBIO Health Care Cost Containment Action

Tuesday, September 17, 2013
Boston Globe

  Over 200 GBIO leaders gathered major health providers, insurers, and healthcare system officials to examine their progress in adhering to the targets of landmark health care cost containment legislation passed in 2012.

The action received extensive coverage from major media:

The Boston Globe

John McDonough on Boston.com

WBUR

 


Could Medicaid expansion decrease drug court costs, save local taxpayer dollars? Cleveland judge says yes.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013
Cleveland Plain Dealer

CLEVELAND, Ohio -- Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Judge David Matia estimates that area residents could save millions in local taxes if the offenders he sees in drug court had health insurance. And if Ohio were to expand Medicaid, as being debated by state legislators, many of the defendants in his court would qualify for the state and federal health insurance program for the poor.... As the clock ticks on a decision, local lobbying for expansion has stepped up: On Monday, community activists held a rally at the Neighborhood Family Practice Center, a federally qualified community health center on Cleveland's West Side. In addition, Greater Cleveland Congregations announced that dozens of volunteers from area religious organizations and neighborhood groups will go door to door in the legislative swing districts of Rocky River, Berea and Solon this week to urge people to contact their legislators. 


Gov. Kasich invokes 'the Good Book' while urging Medicaid expansion

Friday, February 22, 2013
Cleveland Plain Dealer

 

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Gov. John Kasich touted expansion of Ohio’s Medicaid program in his State of the State address as the right and compassionate thing to do, invoking his personal faith and lessons from “the Good Book” as a guide in his decision. The governor urged lawmakers to examine their consciences and not let concerns about government spending, something conservative Republicans in the General Assembly have expressed, trump what he laid out as a moral imperative: helping the less fortunate.


Governors Fall Away in G.O.P. Opposition to More Medicaid

Friday, February 22, 2013
The New York Times

Under pressure from the health care industry and consumer advocates, seven Republican governors are cautiously moving to expand Medicaid, giving an unexpected boost to President Obama’s plan to insure some 30 million more Americans.... Every few days, state hospital associations and advocates for poor people issue reports asserting that the economic benefits of expanding Medicaid would outweigh the costs. In recent weeks, such reports have been issued in Idaho, Indiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Texas, Virginia and Wisconsin. The existence of such a report was a decisive factor in Ohio, where Gov. John R. Kasich decided to embrace an expansion after months of lobbying by coalitions of churches, hospitals, business groups and others. Publication of that study — by Ohio State University, the Health Policy Institute of Ohio, the Urban Institute and Regional Economic Models — was “a major watershed moment,” said Ari Lipman, lead organizer of Greater Cleveland Congregations and chairman of the Northeast Ohio Medicaid Expansion Coalition.


Ohio's Gov. John Kasich to seek Medicaid Expansion

Monday, February 4, 2013
Cleveland Plain Dealer

CLEVELAND, Ohio --Saying that an expansion of Medicaid will help “some of the poorest Ohioans, Gov. John Kasich included the much-anticipated announcement in his two-year budget proposal Monday. The move makes Ohio one of a growing number of Republican-led states to fulfill an option under the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act to expand Medicaid to those who earn up to 138 percent of the federal poverty level.


Religious, community members rally to urge Gov. Kasich to expand Medicaid in Ohio

Friday, January 25, 2013
Cleveland Plain Dealer

CLEVELAND, Ohio --- More than 1,000 rallied at Olivet Institutional Baptist Church in Cleveland on Thursday night to show their support for expanding Medicaid in Ohio.  The assembly brought together members of religious congregations, community groups and major health care providers to demonstrate community support for expanding Medicaid.


Religious, community members rally to urge Gov. Kasich to expand Medicaid in Ohio

Friday, January 25, 2013
Cleveland Plain Dealer

CLEVELAND, Ohio --- More than 1,000 rallied at Olivet Institutional Baptist Church in Cleveland on Thursday night to show their support for expanding Medicaid in Ohio.  The assembly brought together members of religious congregations, community groups and major health care providers to demonstrate community support for expanding Medicaid.


Will Ohio Gov. John Kasich expand Medicaid? "Too important to leave hanging"

Sunday, January 13, 2013
Cleveland Plain Dealer

CLEVELAND, Ohio --
For Ohio’s health care industry and patient advocates, all eyes are on Gov. John Kasich and the two-year state budget he’s expected to propose on Feb. 4. 


Massachusetts Aims to Cut Growth of Its Health Costs

Tuesday, July 31, 2012
The New York Times

The Massachusetts legislature passed a first-in-the-nation bill on Tuesday that seeks to limit the growth of health care costs in the state.  The bill would not allow spending on health care to grow any faster than the state’s economy through 2017. For five years after that, any rise in health care costs would need to be half a percentage point lower than the increase in the state’s gross domestic product.


Mitt must stop running from Romneycare

Wednesday, June 6, 2012
New York Daily News

By Michael Gecan and Cheri Andes

In 2006, then-<a data-cke-saved-href="\\" href="\\&quot;http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/Mitt+Romney\\&quot;" title="\\&quot;Mitt" romney\\"="">Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney helped save the lives of two sick women: Tammy Stafford and Lavern Barnes.


In Health Care, Cheaper Can Be Better

Tuesday, May 15, 2012
The Boston Globe

An Irish adage says: “When you come to a wall that is too high to climb, throw your hat over the wall, and then go get your hat.” That’s what Massachusetts started with its 2006 law requiring just about everyone to get coverage and arranging to make that coverage affordable. Now, it’s time to get the hat.  Legislation to contain costs is the necessary sequel. Reducing costs won’t just rescue health care; it will also help rescue our schools, our roads, our museums, our wages, and the competitiveness of our corporations; that’s because every additional nickel we spend on health care comes from somewhere else — somewhere also important.


House Vs. Senate Health Reform Plans: Let The Comparison Shopping Begin

Wednesday, May 9, 2012
WBUR NPR Boston

The Massachusetts House released its plan for cutting health costs on Friday. The Senate isreleasing its own plan today. And now begins the public “compare and contrast” period, the ingathering of input that could influence the final bill that the legislature is expected to pass this summer.

Let us commence. This just came in from the Greater Boston Interfaith Organization, which has been campaigning for lower health costs:


Religious, business leaders support aggressive cap on health cost increases

Wednesday, March 14, 2012
The Boston Globe

 

Religious and business leaders in Massachusetts are calling for state lawmakers to rein in health spending more aggressively than House Speaker Robert DeLeo has proposed, but groups representing doctors and hospitals warned that slowing spending too sharply could be harmful.  The Greater Boston Interfaith Organization, which has provided a significant consumer voice throughout the state’s health care overhaul, said Tuesday night that DeLeo’s proposal to cap health care cost increases at about 3.7 percent annually, an amount comparable to the yearly growth in the state’s economy, was insufficient. DeLeo said recently that was his goal for containing costs in a long-awaited bill expected to be filed shortly and acted on by legislators this summer.


Nonprofit health insurer lands federal loan

Wednesday, February 22, 2012
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Common Ground, a coalition of religious groups and other organizations, has been awarded a $56.4 million federal loan to start a nonprofit health insurer that would be run by its members.

 

Health Care in Massachusetts: 'Abject Failure' or Work in Progress?

Monday, February 13, 2012
WBUR

The Massachusetts law has had strong and steady support — and little opposition. Last year an attempt to repeal the "individual mandate" — the part that requires most people to have insurance — couldn't get enough signatures. Last week only 39 people had "liked" its Facebook page. To get an idea of how it's working at the ground level, I stopped by the office of Dieufort Fleurissaint, a self-employed Haitian-American businessman. He has a tax prep and insurance business. He's also an evangelical minister who worked with a group called Greater Boston Interfaith Organization that helped get the health law passed.


Grassroots Groups Rally To Control Health Care Costs

Monday, September 26, 2011
WBUR (Boston NPR)

BOSTON — Many health care experts say the U.S. will not wrestle down health care spending unless consumers jump into the debate. But explaining the wonky world of health care finance is tough, even in the medical mecca of Boston. That’s not stopping two grassroots groups that played a key role in passing the state’s health coverage law. On Sunday night they held their first rally on healthcare spending at a church in Roxbury.


Freezes sought on health insurance rates

Thursday, June 30, 2011
Boston Globe

As lawmakers and industry leaders toil over plans to fundamentally change how health care is paid for in Massachusetts, two leading consumer groups are asking them to give ratepayers a one-year reprieve from premium increases. At a noontime rally at the State House today, Health Care for All and the Greater Boston Interfaith Organization plan to call for a 2012 freeze on base premium rates that have jumped sharply in the past decade. The idea is to pressure decision makers, particularly insurers and hospitals, to hash out a long-term plan at a quicker pace...


Mass. Religious Group Campaigns Against Rising Health Care Costs

Monday, December 6, 2010
WBUR (NPR)

BOSTON — Get ready for the next hot religious campaign in Boston: rising health care costs. Yes, the group that chanted, prayed and sang its way to passage of the state’s health coverage law says it’s time to rein in health care spending. Greater Boston Interfaith Organization launched a campaign Sunday, and WBUR’s Martha Bebinger has this review of the first team meeting...


Religious, community groups seek promises from county executive candidates

Thursday, September 23, 2010
Baltimore Sun

A group of over 200 Howard County residents pushing a new fall agenda to benefit unemployed youth and the aging got quick promises of support from Democratic County Executive Ken Ulman but not from Trent Kittleman, his Republican challenger.

People Acting Together in Howard, a coalition of 15 churches, one mosque and several citizens groups, wanted both Ulman and Kittleman to support their plans for more aggressive youth employment programs and more help to allow the elderly to stay in their homes. PATH is affiliated with the Industrial Areas Foundation, a group founded by the late Saul Alinsky, a well-known community organizer...


Interfaith group rallies in Richmond

Thursday, March 11, 2010
Arlington Connection

More than 200 individuals from VOICE — Virginians Organized for Interfaith Community Engagement — traveled to Richmond on Tuesday, March 2, to urge the budget conferees to adopt the Senate’s bi-partisan budget that restores and protects the dental health safety net.

They met with senators and delegates individually and then gathered with 17 Northern Virginia legislative leaders, including three of the budget conferees at a meeting in the Capitol...


10 years of work to make lives better

Wednesday, May 28, 2008
Boston Globe

More than 1,700 people clapped their hands, sang "Amen," and vowed to keep pushing for measures to improve people's lives at the Greater Boston Interfaith Organization's 10th anniversary celebration last night...


Interfaith leaders invoke morality in healthcare debate

Thursday, December 29, 2005
Boston Globe

Let the politicians and lobbyists argue about copayments and premiums. The Rev. Hurmon Hamilton and Rabbi Jonah Pesner are waging their fight to expand healthcare coverage on a different, higher plane...


County Urged To Fund Health Care For Needy

Tuesday, November 9, 1999
Chicago Tribune

A grass-roots organization, founded by religious leaders, including the late Cardinal Joseph Bernardin, took its campaign to expand health care for the uninsured before a skeptical Cook County Board Monday.

Officials and supporters of United Power for Action and Justice, an amalgam of churches, labor unions and community groups, crowded into the County Board Room seeking a $20 million slice of the county's 2000 budget to provide primary care for 50,000 uninsured county residents...