Get Ready Charlotte
A recent Washington Post article reveals how folks who are likely to benefit from the Affordable Care Act (ACA) are unaware of the changes that are coming.
They are also skeptical the new law will make a meaningful difference in their lives.
Enroll America was created last year to raise awareness and maximize health care enrollment when the ACA arrives in full force in 2014. Enroll America has been conducting focus groups around the country with folks who should be eligible for coverage.
Ron Pollack, chair of Enroll America’s board, is quoted as saying, “Virtually no one who is uninsured understands how health reform will affect their lives. While some focus group participants have heard the term Obamacare, literally none of them have an inkling about whether, and how, their lives will be affected.”
This finding that there is a widespread lack of understanding but also a pervasive sense that things really won’t get better for those lacking access to quality health care, has major implications for Charlotte.
By 2014, many of the folks who are currently cared for at Care Ring and at free and reduced cost clinics across Charlotte will in theory have access to private insurance. If Medicaid is expanded in North Carolina, then additionally many more lower-income clients will have access to public support for their health care.
But where will lower income individuals turn to for help and guidance in accessing this new system?
Do we have an adequate supply of private practice physicians ready and willing to see a huge wave of previously uninsured patients, who now have either Medicaid or private insurance?
And for those neighbors who are undocumented and unable to participate in either a public program like Medicaid or the private insurance market, will the emergency room be the last remaining refuge for care?
The folks we are passionate about serving and those who most need our help – the vulnerable and at-risk, those with lower incomes and others with no history with private insurance – are about to be indoctrinated to our health care “system” and asked to navigate an extremely complex system of care.
Enroll America is testing out a variety of marketing slogans and messages to encourage individuals to sign up for coverage. “Get Covered America” received high marks in one of their focus groups.
I propose a slogan for Charlotte’s health care provider community – “Get Ready Charlotte.”