On Thursday, May 24, more than 60 people turned out as the District 17 Democrats held a spirited Health Care Forum at the Granite Reef Senior Center in Scottsdale.
House Minority Leader Phil Lopes (D-Tucson) acted as moderator as representatives from Children's Action Alliance, Arizona Rural Health Association, AARP of Arizona, UFCW Local 99 spoke and answered questions from the audience.
While the speakers, and the groups they represented, had slightly different perspectives on the healthcare crisis in the country and in Arizona, they all were in basic agreement on the state of the health care delivery and finance system; as Rep. Lopes described it - "broken beyond repair."
Some of the discussion centered on the lack of affordable medical coverage for everyone (1 million people without coverage in AZ; 250K of the uncovered are children); some of the discussion tied that stat into the fact that even when there are safety-net programs (KidsCare, AHCCCS) there are frequently legislative hurdles placed in their way to prevent outreach to eligible groups.
Many other issues were discussed, but the overarching theme was the need for people to get involved; as Elvera Anselmo of the AARP said "the time for action is now."
The volunteer/'get involved' web pages for the groups are here -
Children's Action Alliance
AARP of Arizona
Arizona Rural Health Association
Mental Health Association of Arizona
Arizona Public Health Association
Additional information can be had by contacting the chair of the LD17 Democrats, Doug Mings, at dougmings[at]gmail.com or Robert Mings of the D17 Issues Committee at robertmings[at]yahoo.com.
Thanks go out to Rep. Lopes, Dana Naimark (CAA), Mike Vespoli (UFCW 99), Elvera Anselmo (AARP), Jack Beveridge (AzRHA) and, of course, to the audience for making the forum such a success.