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Coalition: Health insurance companies go too far; National push begins for affordable care

Resource type: News

The Columbus Dispatch |

Original Source By Catherine Candisky Nearly every week after her mother was killed and her father was gravely injured in a car crash, Stephanie Beck Borden battled her parents’ insurance company. He was ready to go home, insurance officials insisted. But he couldn’t walk and needed 24-hour care, the family argued. Ultimately, rehabilitative services were extended a few more weeks when her father’s surgeon called a friend at the insurance company. “Something is wrong when a family in the midst of this kind of grief has to gear up for a pitched battle every week,” said Borden, of Cincinnati. She is one of thousands of Americans behind a national effort to take on insurance companies and push for comprehensive, affordable health care in the United States. Health Care for America Now launched its campaign yesterday with news conferences in Columbus, Washington, D.C., and 51 other cities across the country. The coalition of labor unions, faith-based groups, health-care organizations and consumer advocates says it will spend at least $40 million to push for affordable health care. That effort started with $1.5 million spent for a 30-second television commercial to run on CNN and MSNBC and for print advertisements in several national newspapers. In addition, 5 million e-mails were sent to announce the campaign. “Trust insurance companies to fix the health care mess? Not on your life,” the print advertisement reads. Jacki Schechner, spokeswoman for Health Care for America Now, said the New York-based Atlantic Philanthropies provided $10 million for the campaign and each of 13 steering-committee members is contributing $500,000 or more. With health-care costs soaring and more than 47 million Americans without insurance, health care is among the top issues in this year’s presidential race. “In 2009, we will either have a guarantee of quality, affordable health care we all can count on or we will continue to be at the mercy of the private insurance industry that is charging us more, giving us less and putting profits before our health,” Coya Mobley, of the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, said at yesterday’s news conference in Columbus. State Senate Minority Leader Ray Miller, D-Columbus, said supporters are united behind the goal of providing comprehensive, affordable coverage, and a specific plan would be decided by Congress and the new president. Still, the group backs some key elements, such as giving individuals a choice of a private insurance plan or one offered by the government; basing cost on an individual’s income; and standardizing benefits and how much insurance companies can charge for various services. “These are things that have been talked about before,” Miller said. “What’s different is the groundswell of support.” More information and the TV commercial can be found at

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HCAN, health care, Health Care for America Now