200 Stories: Healthcare Forum Attendees Reject Repeal of ACA

200 Stories Healthcare Forum

For months, the Trump administration and the Republican-controlled Congress have been trying every trick in the book to eliminate the Affordable Care Act (ACA or “Obamacare”). Multiple repeal and replace bills died during the summer of 2017, thanks to public outcry against kicking millions of Americans off of health insurance while giving tax breaks and sweetheart deals to insurance companies and others. Overwhelmingly, Americans said: We want a health insurance system that is fair, affordable, and wide-ranging in its coverage.

Fast forward to November 2017, and the Republicans are at in again. Rather than hiding tax cuts for the rich in health insurance bills (as they tried last summer), they are hiding an ACA poison pill in the middle of a tax cut bill for the uber-rich.

Do the American people want to go back to market-driven health insurance with high costs and limited access to care and drugs? Do they want millions of adults to lose their insurance altogether– with the fight to rollback Medicaid expansion? Do they want poor children to lose their insurance– with the pending sunset of KidsCare? No! Citizen backlash on social media and in the streets has been strong and swift. In Southern Arizona, protesters have dogged CD2 Congresswomen Martha McSally, who voted for Republican plans to eliminate the ACA, kick millions of Americans off of health insurance, cut taxes for big corporations and the uber-rich, and raise taxes on the rest of us. Do Tucsonans agree with McSally and the Republican Party?

Continue reading 200 Stories: Healthcare Forum Attendees Reject Repeal of ACA

Oct 2017 LD9 Constituent Update: News & Events

Congressman Raul Grijalva and Rep. Pamela Powers Hannley

My October 2017 constituent update included an essay on the importance of healthcare stories and a few event updates. You can read I Want To Hear Your Healthcare Stories here. Below are some event photos.

AzPHA Conference on the Opioid Epidemic

Arizona Public Health Assoication
The September Arizona Public Health Association conference on the opioid crisis was a real eye-opener. As a public health advocate, tackling the opioid crisis has been one of my top priorities since I began running for office. For the latest Arizona information, check out these slides presented by Arizona Department of Health Services. In the above photo, I am with former Legislator Debbie McCune-Davis, AzPHA Executive Director and former ADHS Director Will Humble, and Dr. Daniel Derksen from the UA College of Public Health. Watch for opioid epidemic legislation from the Governor and from the House Democratic Caucus in 2018. I plan to reintroduce the 911 Good Samaratan bill which will save lives of people during an overdose situation.

NAACP Gala Featured Rep. Bolding

Rep. Reginold Bolding (far right in the above photo) was the keynote speaker at the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People’s (NAACP) annual gala in Tucson in October. We were surprised and honored to be seated at the front table with Rep. Bolding and Arizona NAACP President Charles R. Fanniel and his wife Lucille (above) and local NAACP President Doris J. Snowden and her husband (not pictured).
My seat mate Dr. Randy Friese and his wife Susan were also there. Here are Jim and I with the Frieses.

Continue reading Oct 2017 LD9 Constituent Update: News & Events

I Want to Hear Your Healthcare Stories

Banner University Medical Center

For the past 30 years, my career has focused on health promotion, disease prevention, behavioral research, and communications. I have seen, photographed, and written about the good, the bad and the ugly parts of our country’s healthcare “system”.

I saw the rise of HMOs (health maintenance organizations) in the 1980s. I cheered the Clintons for at least trying to fix the overly complicated mess in the early 1990s. I saw costs going up every year and service going down. I saw a health insurance system that was creaking under the weight of its own complexity, while big insurance and big pharma collected huge profits. As managing editor of the American Journal of Medicine, I stood proudly by the Editor-in-Chief when he and the Editorial Board called for Medicare for All on multiple occasions.

Along the way, I have heard stories about huge medical bills, uncompensated hospital care, outrageously expensive drugs, limited or delayed access to medical care, premature death and disease, medical bankruptcy, and the medical consequences of poverty.

Now, as a member of the Arizona House and the ranking Democrat on the Health Committee, I want to hear your stories.

Do you have concerns about the future of the Affordable Care Act, Medicare, Medicaid and Kids Care? Is the cost of medical care or prescription drugs a worry for your family? How would dramatic cuts to these programs impact you? Come to the 200 Stories: Tucson Healthcare Forum on Oct. 29.

Continue reading I Want to Hear Your Healthcare Stories

200 Stories: Tucson Healthcare Forum, Oct 29

200 Stories: Tucson Healthcare Forum

Do you have concerns about the Affordable Care Act and repeal attempts; about the future of Medicare and Medicaid; or about access to care or the cost of drugs?

Whether you are a patient or a provider, we want to hear your medical and health insurance stories. The LD9 and LD10 Legislators are holding an open mic forum in which we listen, you talk, and we all learn.

This is a free educational community event for residents of Pima County. It’s about listening and learning from each other. Senators David Bradley and Steve Farley and Representatives Kirsten Engel, Randy Friese, and Pamela Powers Hannley have confirmed their attendance. (Rep. Todd Clodfelter was invited but has a scheduling conflict.)

In the news, we hear what politicians and big corporations think should be done with our country’s overly complicated and extremely expensive health care system. At this event, the people of Southern Arizona will have an opportunity to tell us their stories and help shape future policy.

Mark your calendars for October 29, 2017. The event will be held 1:30-3:30 p.m. at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Tucson, 4831 E. 22nd St.

Please take a few minutes to register with EventBrite by clicking here. We want to make sure we have enough seats.

Watch Facebook and other social media for updates.

Sept 2017 LD9 Constituent Update: News & Events

Michael Peel and Rep. Pamela Powers Hannley

My September update to constituents featured my Legislative Report card, which I expanded on in this blog post. 

Since September was so full of events, I decided to publish the update in two parts. This is the fun part– the photo album of events.

Labor Day Picnic

Labor Day Tucson 2017
Despite the sweltering heat, Jim and I had a great time at the Labor Day Picnic. We collected a lot of Clean Elections $5 donations and signatures. Here I am with LD9 chair Michael Dues.
Labor Day Tucson 2017
Women candidates, activists, and electeds were everywhere on Labor Day. Left to right we have: Linda Lyon (Blog for Arizona blogger and education activist), LD11 House candidate Holly Lyon, me, CD2 candidate Mary Matiella, and TUSD board member Kristal Foster.
Labor Day Tucson 2017
My shady tent was very popular. Here I am with LD9 Senate candidate Victoria Steele and Attorney General candidate and Emerge Sister January Contreras.

Continue reading Sept 2017 LD9 Constituent Update: News & Events

Labor Day Picnic on Sept 4: Come On Down!

Re-Elect Rep. Pamela Powers Hannley

Come and join Jim and I at the Powers For The People booth at the Pima Area Labor Federation’s Annual Labor Day Picnic on Monday, September 4 at Reid Park.

The Labor Day Picnic is like homecoming for Jim and me. We have had a booth or attended the Labor Day Picnic nearly every year since we met– first with Progressive Democrats of America (PDA), then with Arizonans for a New Economy, for the past two years as a candidate for Arizona House, and this year as an elected representative. Two years ago, I collected my first signatures and $5 Clean Elections Qualifying Contributions at the Labor Day Picnic.

There are five ways you can support my 2018 re-election campaign at the picnic.

1- Sign my petition

If you live in LD9, I will have nominating petitions for you to sign at my booth. Please help me get on the ballot in 2018.

2- Give Me $5 for Clean Elections

Yes, I am running clean again and looking for $5s. Running clean is part of my value system. I believe that elected officials should answer to the voters– not to big money donors, lobbyists, political action committees, or dark money. Clean candidates have no strings attached because we accept only modest donations from real people. I will have $5 Clean Elections Qualifying Contribution forms at the booth on Monday. To qualify for Clean Elections funds and avoid trap of big money politics, I have to collect at least 200 $5 donations from LD9 voters . Please help me out, and bring a $5 to the picnic.

Continue reading Labor Day Picnic on Sept 4: Come On Down!

August 2017 LD9 Constituent Update: News & Upcoming Events (video)

Jim and Pam Hannley

Community Event Update

ERA in ArizonaWomen’s Equality Day: Aug 26

I am honored to be a speaker at Women’s Equality: Courageous Conversations on August 26, the anniversary of women’s suffrage and the passage of the 19th Amendment. I will be talking about the history of the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) and the struggle to pass it. Only two more states are needed to ratify the ERA. I filed a bill proposing ratification of the ERA in the Arizona House in 2017, and I plan to do it again in 2018. Event information here.

Standing Room Only at July 8 Townhall

Unlike some politicians who hide from their constituents, LD9 Senator Steve Farley, Rep. Randy Friese, and I held a constituent town hall in early July. At the time, Congress was wrangling with health insurance reform and was poised to knock 30 million Americans off of health insurance, while giving tax breaks to the wealthy, to big insurance and to big pharma.

As a result, our LD9 town hall drew a standing room only crowd at the Martha Cooper Library in midtown– despite 109 degree temperatures. My UA intern Antar de Sa did a Facebook live video, and you can watch the whole event here. I also posted my comments on my YouTube channel.

Continue reading August 2017 LD9 Constituent Update: News & Upcoming Events (video)

The Yin & Yang of Public Policy: Can We Achieve Balance?

On one hand, the news media often tells us that we are a country divided. Social media fuels this idea with countless stories of political and ideological intransigence despite mounting societal needs.

On the other hand, the news media also often tells us how much the general population agrees on certain topics. For example, although Congressional Republicans have been working for seven years to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA or “Obamacare”) and return to the glory days of market-driven health insurance, polls show an increasing majority of Americans “believe the federal government has a responsibility to make sure all Americans have health care coverage.”

An Associated Press story published today reported that “Americans overwhelmingly want lawmakers of both parties to work out health-care changes, with only 13 percent supporting Republican moves to repeal ‘Obamacare’ absent a replacement.”

Affordable Care Act
An old meme from 2014 refers to the movie Elysium, where Matt Damon and others are doomed to live on Earth with no workplace safety, no health insurance and squalid conditions, while the rich live on a floating space station (Elysium) with luxuries including a machine that heals disease.

“Nearly everyone wants changes to the Obama law, while hardly anyone wants to see it abolished without a substitute in place,” according to the AP. If 80-90% of Americans think Republicans and Democrats should work together on healthcare insurance reform, why not do this? Why the complete disconnect between what the people want, what’s good for the health of the population, and what the Republicans in Congress are doing?

Continue reading The Yin & Yang of Public Policy: Can We Achieve Balance?

July LD9 Constituent Update: News & Upcoming Events

Reps. Kirsten Engel and Pamela Powers Hannley

It may be hot on the sidewalks of the Old Pueblo, but that doesn’t stop Tucsonans from getting together for community events. Since the Arizona Legislature ended its session in mid-May, I have attended several community events and have given a number of Legislative Updates to groups. I have two events set up so far for July. (You can see the details below or on my Facebook page.)

There were many hot topics in the Legislature this session: teacher pay, the assault on public education and expansion of private and public school vouchers(ESAs), the assault on the Citizens’ Initiative process, hemp cultivation, gun rights, restoration of cash assistance and child care credits for needy families, theEqual Rights Amendment (ERA), fetal resuscitation, corporate tax cuts, andsurprise billing insurance reform, to name a few.

After the session, I was honored to be recognized by the Sierra Club with an A+ rating, by the Secular Coalition as a“Secular Star”, by Children’s Action Alliance with a 100% rating and by the Pima County Interfaith Council (PCIC) formy work on the Spice issue.

Thank you for your support and your emails. It is an honor to serve you in the Arizona House.

Below are a few news items from my email blast. If you want to be on my email list or my blog go here.

Continue reading July LD9 Constituent Update: News & Upcoming Events

Beyond #PrayerGate: Secular Coalition Honors ‘Secular Stars’ (video)

Secular Coalition

One of the big stories of the 2017 session of the 53rd Legislature was #PrayerGate. On April 18, 2017, Rep. Athena Salman, who is an atheist, read a secular meditation on the Floor of the Arizona House. This is against the rules. According to the Majority Party (who makes the rules), the daily prayer on the Floor of the House must include seeking guidance from a higher power. 

After Salman read her inspirational statement, Rep. Mark Finchem jumped out of his seat to protest her “prayer” as “inappropriate” because it didn’t mention God or Jesus. Finchem was allowed to offer a replacement prayer with God in it. A debate about “appropriate” prayer ensued, with atheists, Native Americans and others defending traditions that have been deemed “inappropriate” by the Republicans who control the Legislature. This is not the first time that Godless prayer in the Arizona Legislature has made international news.

Secular Coalition
Secular Coalition press conference after #PrayerGate incidence in the Arizona House.

A few days after #PrayerGate, the Secular Coalition of Arizona held a press conference in support of religious freedom– even for the nonreligious. I was glad to stand with Salman, the Native Americans, the Secular Coalition, other Unitarian Universalists, and those who practice Christian or non-Christian religions or no religion.

At the press conference we jointly read the secular meditation that Athena read on the floor of the House.

I stand with the Secular Coalition on this issue because I believe in the separation of church and state and because I am a Unitarian Universalist. We’re the “It’s Complicated” religion because we accept refugees and outcasts from many other religions, and we accept nonbelievers. We are guided by our seven principles which include honoring the inherent self-worth of others, the interconnectedness of life, democracy and fairness, the search for truth (even if it means believing in science!), and more.

Continue reading Beyond #PrayerGate: Secular Coalition Honors ‘Secular Stars’ (video)