How to Save a Life: My Story of Health Policy & Empowerment

How to Save a Life: My Story of Health Policy & Empowerment

Nine years ago, I received devastating news: My aunt Michelle had passed away from cardiovascular disease. Michelle was at times a caretaker, other times a third parent, and always a friend. At the time, I was an insecure teen who had no idea what his impact on the world would be, and certainly no clue that I’d be involved in health policy. Michelle’s passing left me wracked with both grief and guilt. The shock of losing such a dear friend worsened my emotional state and forced me to acknowledge my inability to do anything to about it. Michelle’s death initially left me traumatized and disoriented, but it ultimately set me…
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Saving the Safety Net: Protecting the Sick and Vulnerable on Medicaid

Saving the Safety Net: Protecting the Sick and Vulnerable on Medicaid

On November 7, 2017, Seema Verma, the administrator of the Centers for Medicaid Services (CMS) spoke to an audience of state Medicaid directors from across the nation. In this speech, Verma outlined her vision for the future of Medicaid, a state and federally funded health insurance program (known in California as Medi-Cal) that covers nearly 75 million Americans, particularly low income families and disabled Americans. This program acts as a vital safety net for vulnerable patients who do not have the resources to afford private health coverage. Unfortunately, Verma’s plan will strip coverage from many vulnerable and sick individuals who currently utilize this decades old safety net program. What is the CMS…
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Fellowship, Policy, and Opportunity: A Letter to Future Fellows

Fellowship, Policy, and Opportunity: A Letter to Future Fellows

Dear Future Greenlining Fellows, My name is Denzel Tongue and I am Greenlining’s current Health Equity Fellow. I am sure your life is probably pretty hectic right now. You may be finishing up finals, applying to jobs, or just trying to figure out what the hell are you going to do next year. I was in your shoes not too long ago, and I know that this time period is not easy. However, I’ve seen the light at the end of the tunnel, and some of that light comes from the Greenlining Leadership Academy! A policy fellowship like the one I’m in the middle of represents an amazing opportunity to…
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Health Care in the Crosshairs: Why We Still Need to #GetCovered

Health Care in the Crosshairs: Why We Still Need to #GetCovered

For now, the Affordable Care Act  remains the law of the land. Republicans have led numerous efforts to repeal the ACA since it became law in 2010; in fact, Senate Republicans voted to repeal the ACA three times in July 2017 alone. Fortunately, targeted opposition from advocates across the nation led to the downfall of the Graham-Cassidy bill, the latest attempt to dismantle health care reform. Nevertheless, with open enrollment looming, health advocates must remain vigilant: Conservatives will keep trying to defund, or repeal the ACA. The Graham-Cassidy bill was the most egregious effort to repeal the ACA thus far. The Congressional Budget Office reported that Graham-Cassidy would have stripped millions…
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Looking for Answers to Violence in the Right Places

Looking for Answers to Violence in the Right Places

As a working class Black man who lives in the United States, I constantly reflect on my privilege. I have always had health care, access to education, and crucially, freedom from day to day violence. Whether that violence takes the form of a neighborhood shooting, police harassment, or extrajudicial violence by law enforcement, I have been free from it. This freedom does not always extend to my Black brothers and sisters who are killed by the police at disproportionately high rates. It also does not extend to those who face gun violence in urban areas, or violence from racist redlining policies, such as the decades-old practice by the Federal Housing…
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