I am grateful to receive this Champion of Change honor and I accept this on behalf of my volunteer co workers in the Kansas City metro area. I understand I am being honored for my work educating local groups about the Affordable Care Act (ACA). We are a “bottom up” effort to generate and coordinate requests to speak to trade groups, professional groups, health care providers, seniors, women’s groups, teachers, union workers and subscribers in public libraries. We will go anywhere we can to speak and generate an invitation to educate more citizens about the law.
To date we have reached over 1,224 people in 72 different settings groups, in two states and six counties in Missouri and Kansas. Also, we brought Wendell Potter, author of Deadly Spin to our public library where 550 people heard his experience in the shareholder-driven commercial health insurance world.
We match the experts on the ACA and to the needs of the group. We augment the work of existing advocacy organizations. Recently we added a Train the Trainer Ambassador level layer to expand our capacity to provide the education to the least well informed citizens. We are working our way into the schedules of public libraries, church groups, and social clubs. The ACA is the law and we share that with all the attendees. We greet skepticism with facts, doubt with accomplishments. Not everyone is receptive to the information but we keep on generating requests and those speaking engagements have a way of begetting more invitations. Our volunteer committee has no legal status, no money. We have good people (two social workers, a nurse, a researcher and a teacher). We have lots of missionary zeal to spread the word about the benefits and changes in the Affordable Care Act.
In my long career as a social worker in 3 states I have spent considerable time on the plight of the uninsured. Through the years I noted the ranks of the uninsured have risen from 15 million in the 70’s to the all time high today of nearly 50 million Americans.
I have worked in Kansas and Missouri to expand health care coverage for women in mid-life who lost coverage due to death, disability, divorce or retirement of worker spouse and the COBRA legislation in the mid 80’s, the implementation of the State Children Health Insurance Program and HIPPA in the mid 90’s. Each federal initiative expanded or continued existing coverage. Still there are nearly 50 million uninsured Americans. For this reason my colleagues and I are in the community day in and day out working to get the information to those who have not heard the good news.
Alice Kitchen is the Volunteer Co-Chair of the Affordable Care Public Education Committee for the Metropolitan Kansas City MO/KS area.