When: Thursday November 12th, 6pm
Where: Kingsessing Recreation Center (49th St. and Kingsessing Ave. Philadelphia, PA)

Health insurance premiums on Affordable Care Act plans are increasing this year throughout Pennsylvania. Many of us are already struggling to get the health care we need for ourselves and our families. Premium increases on ACA Marketplace plans have been approved to take effect on January 1, 2016 ranging between 0 and 26.7%. Plans approved for increases of over 20%, including Geisinger, Highmark, and Keystone Health Plan West will impact over 150,000 people across the state. This means that over 1/3 of people currently enrolled in ACA plans will either be paying more or forced to navigate the marketplace to pick plans with lower prices which usually means higher deductibles and worse coverage. On Novermber 12th, the Southwest Philadelphia Organizing Committee is convening a Human Rights Town Hall in the Kingsessing neighborhood to examine the impacts of insurance companies’ power over our experience of healthcare.

We recently testified at a hearing on surprise medical billing held by the PA Insurance Department and asked Insurance Commissioner Teresa Miller to hold a hearing on the proposed rate increases but were told that the decisions were already made. She said that she is open to doing a public hearing next year. We decided to hold our own town hall and invite her and others to attend.

At the hearing, Philadelphia residents will receive information about how insurance operates in Pennsylvania and share their stories about coverage and care. We’ll shine a spotlight on the recent statewide insurance rate increases which happened without public input. Our intention is to build momentum for greater accountability and transparency moving forward.  We’ll also show how our human right to health care is connected to our struggles to win all of our human rights: to education, to housing, to good nutritious food, to a healthy environment, and others. You can RSVP for the Town Hall here.

Put People First! PA will also be offering support with getting enrolled in an Affordable Care Act/Obamacare insruance plan (enrollment opens November 1st) or in Medicaid (which was recently expanded in PA). Blood pressure and blood sugar level screenings will also be available.

This town hall is part of an ongoing series of community meetings and hearings around the state. The first was in Gettysburg in December 2014, and focused on the stories of immigrants and undocumented people. They’ll be a way for us to voice our common challenges, build up our vision of what a health care system based in our human rights and human needs would really look like, and build a strategy for collective power. They’re also a place for us to see that we’re not alone in our struggles, to support each other, and to continue coming together and getting organized to fight for our human rights.

The Kingsessing community is getting organized and speaking out on our experiences of the health care system and the nature of the insurance companies. We hope that with this hearing our Southwest Philly Organizing Committee can continue to grow and build deep connections with our community. Please join us on November 12th, and remember to RSVP!

Kingsessing Human Rights Town Hall New

If you have questions about the hearing or about the Southwest Philly Organizing Committee, you can email Sheila Quintana at sheila@putpeoplefirstpa.org You can also download a printable flyer for the Town Hall here.

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