NAACP 880 Campaign Town Hall Sheds New Light on Real Health Care Reform


(WASHINGTON, DC) The NAACP in conjunction with the Washington, DC Branch of the NAACP hosted a town hall meeting on Thursday to discuss the current health care reform debate and the disproportionate impact health care and health insurance have had in communities of color.

“The NAACP is continuing to work tirelessly to send a message to Congress that we need real health care reform now.  More African Americans have died in the past decade than the entire population of San Francisco and more and more children have gone without health insurance.  As a country we will not survive without real reform which includes a robust public option for all Americans,” stated Hilary O. Shelton, Director of the NAACP Washington Bureau and Senior Vice President for Advocacy and Policy.

More than 200 people packed the Old City Council Chambers in Washington, DC to hear panelists from the NAACP, National Council of La Raza, the National Medical Association, the Generational Alliance and staff members from the House Ways and Means committee.

During the forum, panelists and town hall goers heard from Zikia T. Jones- Martin, a Howard University Student.  Ms. Martin’s mother passed away two years ago after a hard fought battle with breast cancer.  Ms. Martin’s mother, after seven years of battling cancer, was forced to go on medical disability.  After 18 months her health insurance ran out and she was no longer insurable due to cancer being treated as a “pre-existing” condition.  After those 18 months Ms. Martin’s mother also had to stop taking her medication and could not see any doctor and was forced to apply for Medicare and Medicaid.  After going to the hospital and waiting for 10 hours to get into the ICU she passed away, two days later her daughter received her Medicare and Medicaid ID cards.

“I feel that a lot of things that could’ve been done to save my mother were not done because of her insurance situation,” said Jones-Martin.  “She applied with many different insurance companies and was continually denied; she had no choice but to stop taking her medications.  We need real health care reform in this country, with an option for people like my mother so that this doesn’t happen to another family,” added Jones-Martin

"The WashingtonDC branch is pleased with the participation tonight. It is clear that the community stands with us in our fight for real healthcare reform. We will continue to engage and educate our residents on this critical issue that disproportionately affects communities of color. The status quo is unacceptable. Our advocacy efforts will not end until quality, affordable health care is available for all Americans," said Washington, DC branch President Lorraine Miller.  

The forum was hosted by a coalition of civic and community organizations to include the NAACP, Washington DC NAACP Branch, Howard University NAACP Chapter, George Washington University NAACP Chapter, National Urban League Young Professionals Network, and Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc., Omicron Lambda Chapter.

Founded in 1909, the NAACP is the nation's oldest and largest civil rights organization. Its members throughout the United States and the world are the premier advocates for civil rights in their communities, conducting voter mobilization and monitoring equal opportunity in the public and private sectors.

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