De’Von knows what it’s like to dread a 19th birthday because he will no longer qualify for ALL Kids. With a brain cyst, a broken back and acute deafness, he desperately needed insurance growing up, and not having it occupies his mind constantly.
Kathleen remembers sitting in a hospital after a cancer screening, wondering how she could ever afford treatments without insurance if the results were positive.
Margaret vividly recalls the days when she and her husband were unemployed with four kids at home. The kids were fortunately covered under ALL Kids, but she lived everyday what might happen to them if she or her husband became ill or had an accident.
These are just a few of the reasons why students volunteer with Bama Covered.
It’s no secret that the healthcare landscape in America is changing rapidly. With shifting deadlines, piles of legislation and endless political bickering, people are finding it hard to sift through the rhetoric to make sense of what the changes mean for them. Healthcare has somehow become about politics, not people.
It should be the other way around. That’s why we launched a non-partisan, student-powered, community-based education campaign called Bama Covered. Our abiding belief is that students can be effective conduits of information in communities near their campuses. We are working with students across the state — four-year and two-year colleges, public and private, graduate and undergraduate — to provide useful, objective information to people who are dealing with difficult decisions about healthcare.
We’ve made some great progress thus far, training hundreds of students and empowering them to attend community events and engage in meaningful conversations with families about their healthcare options. These conversations are taking place outside of high school basketball games, near barbershops or after church on Sunday afternoons.
The students who volunteer with us do so for a number of reasons. At two-year colleges, we are fortunate to partner with students who have been selected to Phi Theta Kappa, an honors society that recognizes academic achievement and encourages integrity and service among its members. At four year colleges, students see Bama Covered as a service learning initiative, a chance to participate in democracy or an opportunity to give back to their communities. For many, this is a spiritual conviction, a chance for us to care for our neighbors.
Bama Covered is just one member of a vast coalition of community partners across the state. Every day, a number of churches, non-profits, family resource centers, hospitals and healthcare providers are engaging with the people of Alabama who are asking questions and finding answers. Use our Bama Guide to learn about who is doing this work in your area. The members of this coalition might not agree on every issue, but we all believe it is important that people can have a place to go and learn what option is most suitable for them.
Regardless of your political inclinations, in a democracy we agree that people deserve to make informed decisions, and Bama Covered strengthens communities by making sure that they do.
These are our young people, from Gurley to Mobile, black and white, urban and rural, and they are doing what they can to help their neighbors. Some might call it direct democracy, but Benjamin Franklin would have simply called it citizenship–the sort that is needed to preserve the Republic.
This is about Alabama students, helping Alabama families, identifying the Alabama option that’s best for them.