This May, we collected 500 signatures from 26 counties, requesting a public hearing before any new rate increases on Affordable Care Act plans are approved by the Pennsylvania Department of Insurance. For 2017, insurance companies have requested rate increases of up to 48% on some plans. Thank you for signing the petition and participating in the call-in day to the Insurance department.

You can look for your plan and check out what kinds of increases insurance companies are asking for here. Comments to the Insurance Department can be made by e-mailing ra-rateform@pa.gov. But we’re not satisfied with just an e-mail address to express our concerns with rising premiums, deductibles, and co-pays.Many of you have courageously stepped forward with stories of how premium increases will impact you and your family.

“As someone who relies on Obamacare, it is extremely important to me that we take the time to hear how premium increases affect people‘s lives not just bottom lines.”
                                                                                    -Rabiya, Spring Garden Township

The Insurance Department is dragging their feet on a public hearing. They meet behind closed doors with insurance companies, but they won’t let regular Pennsylvanians speak on the record about the impact of higher healthcare prices.

Yes, it’s an election year. And yes, it’s budget season. But honestly, our health is not a political football. We need transparency and accountability. So PPF is taking our campaign forward, starting with a rapid-response Twitter blast at@PAInsuranceDept to demand #PIDRateHearings, and to show that we are going to stand up for the right of every person to have a say in their own health and healthcare.

Tweet @PAInsuranceDept with the amount your healthcare premium went up this year, or to call for public hearings!

Sample Tweet: “My premium went up $_ this year! We need public hearings! #PIDratehearing @PAInsuranceDept”

Share our photo calling for hearings on Facebook (included above) and Twitter (included below)!

“Pulse has shown us how vital our mission is, how necessary.”

Across the country these past few weeks, members of every community have felt the pain rippling from Orlando, Florida after the mass shooting at Pulse Nightclub. 49 beautiful and unique individuals, mostly from the LBGTQ community, and mostly Latino, lost their lives to hatred, fear, and ignorance, combined with gunfire. Many more were injured. We stand in solidarity today — and moving forward — with our siblings across communities, holding hands across our differences. When we unite, when we support each other in and through struggle, we can give each other the strength we need to continue on. When we share compassion and support, we can give each other the courage to rebuild.

We do this work because we believe we can change what is possible. We have learned to love without reservation. We have committed to advocate for those who may not be able to advocate for themselves. Pulse has shown us how vital our mission is, how necessary. Be of good courage, even in the face of this tragedy. This family, this community, has the power to heal our world.

Look out soon for new writing from LGBTQ members of PPF!PA.

On Saturday, 6/18, the family of Marie Funk as well as community members and extended family from Put People First! PA gathered to pay her tribute and call attention to the negligence in her care perpetrated at the end of her life by Senior LIFE, a local healthcare provider for low-income seniors.

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Senior LIFE  repeatedly denied and/or delayed Marie’s care, despite being paid by both Medicaid and Medicare to treat her. Marie Funk’s daughter, Danelle Morrow, lead the vigil and spoke out about the mistreatment Marie and her family received at the hands of Senior LIFE. Members of PPF-PA, from Pittsburgh, York, and Philadelphia, joined Marie’s family and other local residents.

Read here and here for more about Marie’s story.

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The vigil focused on bringing release and healing to Marie’s family and community and heat to Senior Life. “Over 200 families in Cambria County have loved ones under Senior LIFE’s care. The purpose of our action is to 1) raise awareness so that no one else has to go through this 2) get Senior LIFE to apologize and 3) get them to change the way they provide care,” remarked Danelle. 

Gathered outside Senior LIFE headquarters at 4th and Broad Street, the peaceful crowd held signs, gave testimonials, sang, lit candles and released paper lanterns into the sky in memory of Marie and others harmed by a healthcare system that puts profit over people. Channel 6, WJAC as well as the Tribune Democrat were there to cover the story.

“She was my grandmother too. She loved everyone,” remarked Corey Butler, a friend of the family. “We’re fighting because my mom taught me my values and my morals. She wouldn’t have wanted this to happen to anyone else. If you’re out there suffering, we want you to know that we’ll fight for you too,” committed Danelle.

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Danelle and Family

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: Danelle Morrow (814) 254-6647

Senior Strife: Family and supporters to hold vigil Saturday to honor Marie Funk, call for accountability from local senior care provider

 

What: Vigil for community healing and accountability

Who: Family of late local resident Marie Funk and members of Put People First! PA

When: Saturday June 18th, 6:30 pm

Where: Senior LIFE, 401 Broad St., Johnstown

        On Saturday, community members and supporters from Put People First! PA (PPF-PA) will hold a vigil in Johnstown to honor the late Marie Funk and to call to account Senior LIFE (a local healthcare provider for low-income seniors) for repeatedly denying or delaying her care, despite being paid by both Medicaid and Medicare to treat her. Marie Funk’s daughter, Danelle Morrow, will lead the vigil and speak out about the mistreatment Marie and her family received at the hands of Senior LIFE. Members of PPF-PA, a statewide organization working to make healthcare a human right in Pennsylvania, will come to Johnstown from Pittsburgh, York, and Philadelphia, to join Marie’s family and other local residents.

 

“Over 200 families in Cambria County have loved ones under Senior Life’s care. They need to know that they are not alone if they are going through the same thing my family went through. I want to help people speak out if they feel they are being mistreated, before it’s too late,” remarked Marie’s daughter Danelle.

 

At the vigil, paper lanterns will be released into the sky, Danelle and others will speak, and everyone will hold candles.

 

        In the 8 months in which Marie Funk was in Senior LIFE’s program, her medical team provided wholly inadequate care, leading to unnecessary suffering for her and her family. Though she was in severe pain, Senior LIFE’s doctor insisted she did not need medication. After pain medication was prescribed by other doctors when Marie was hospitalized, Senior LIFE reduced her dosage upon returning home. Senior LIFE also delayed diagnostic testing for months before Marie was finally diagnosed with cancer. It was not until weeks after her initial diagnosis that a doctor at another facility informed her that she had stage-four terminal lung cancer.

        In addition to the lack of care, Senior LIFE’s doctor and staff treated Marie disrespectfully, telling her that the pain she was experiencing was only in her head. As Marie’s health deteriorated, her family repeatedly requested that Senior LIFE provide more in-home personal care but they refused to give Marie the daily assistance that she needed, insisting that she was healthy enough to live independently at home. In the end, Marie’s daughter had her admitted into hospice care, where she died after only three days.

        Danelle explains, “At first, I wanted to trust the doctors. But as time passed and more things were overlooked and avoided, despite several requests for tests and other treatments, it became clear that the issue was that Senior LIFE did not want to pay for these additional services. They wanted to do everything in house to make more profit.”

        Sadly, Marie’s family could not afford a funeral for her. Saturday’s vigil will provide a chance for her family and friends to say goodbye. But more than that, it will serve as a protest of the mistreatment and suffering that Marie endured in the final months of her life. Marie’s family and supporters want to 1) raise awareness for other families enrolled in Senior LIFE, and 2) get Senior LIFE to apologize for the way they treated her. They also want to see Senior Life change the way it provides care. Danelle Morrow says, “We want Senior Life to know that we are watching. We want to make sure that no other family has to go through what we went through. Services and quality of care should never be reduced to save money. Profit over healthcare is an abomination!”

 

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