WVCAG and our partners have been hard at work over the last few months on a myriad of health care projects, including video interviews, educational webinars, an action in DC, and four candidate forums!
Take Action: https://tinyurl.com/PMBTAct22
Contact your congress members and ask them to support this bill
aimed at cracking down on the unfair and deceptive practices of PBMs,
and to stop them from inflating prescription drug and health care costs.
Taking Action in DC to Make Meds Affordable
Did you hear about President Biden’s executive order from Friday Oct. 14th “directing the Department of Health and Human Services to explore new actions it can take to lower prescription drug costs”? Well, I’m pretty sure we helped make that happen. How cool is that! 🙂
On Oct. 6th, People’s Action, WVCAG, and a whole host of partners demonstrated outside of the HHS offices in DC, urging President Biden and Secretary Becerra to use March-In-Rights and other existing executive authorities to break pharmaceutical monopolies, increase competition and production, and lower costs for prescription drugs at their core. Video of the action is available on our YouTube Channel. Please like and subscribe.
Speakers shared their powerful personal health care stories. Then, participants broke open a giant piñata filled with over 100 pill bottles, each filled with more personal stories, to illustrate that people are forced to “break the bank” to access life-saving medications, and to call attention to how executive action must accompany legislative action to make medicines affordable.
At the close of the event, approximately 900 petition signatures were delivered to Secretary Becerra’s office, asking him to meet with us and take action on lowering prescription drug costs.
The action was sponsored by the Make Meds Affordable campaign, which includes WV Citizen Action Group, Action Center on Race and the Economy, CPD Action, Indivisible, People’s Action, PrEP4All, Progressive Maryland, Public Citizen, Social Security Works, and T1International.
Note: President Biden’s executive order also fixed the “family glitch” in the ACA, just in time for this next open enrollment period for 2023! Here’s an excellent article by Kat Stoll explaining how this will help so many families better afford coverage.
Health Care Stories
As part of the lead up to this action, we invited West Virginians to share their healthcare stories with us via video interview. More full length interviews will be posted soon.
Why? Well, if we want policy change, we need to educate our elected officials on how the status quo is hurting real people. They won’t know unless we tell them.
If you or someone you know has a health care story they’d like to share, please contact me at eve@wvcag or visit our online form at www.tinyurl.com/wvstories21.
Google, YouTube, and Outreach Success
As part of our efforts to get more signatures on the Becerra petition, we created our first ever YouTube advertising campaign (https://youtu.be/wvBwj7k1jRk), which yielded 73 new channel subscribers, 3.7K views, and 42K impressions. This 4-day campaign implies that we could effectively expand our outreach and base-building efforts through more ads such as this. Who would we be reaching? People who can’t afford streaming services or to pay for ads-free YouTube, aka lower income households. This is an important demographic to connect with, especially as it relates to affordable, accessible, equitable health care.
Educational Health Care Webinars
Our Make Meds Affordable campaign was kind of a complicated concept. So, we wanted to help educate the public on what executive action would look like, explain March-in-Rights, and break down how it would lead to lower prescription drug prices. We decided to host a webinar, in partnership with Physicians for a National Health Program of WV and Rise Up WV.
We CAN Make Meds Affordable! (August, 25th, 2022)
In the process, our group decided that hosting more of these educational health care webinars was a good idea. For instance, there are many reasons prescription drugs and health care services are so expensive, one of which is the deceptive practices of Pharmacy Benefit Managers (PBMs). Luckily, congress is trying to do something about them through the Pharmacy Benefit Manager Transparency Act of 2022.
Lower Drug Prices NOW by Cracking Down on PBMs! (September, 22nd, 2022)
Keep an eye out for more health care webinars after the election!
Health Care Candidate Forums
Through the Health Care for All WV coalition, we and our partners managed to host four, yes FOUR, health care oriented candidate forums, and they are all up on YouTube. Candidates from the Cabell, Wood, Monongalia, and Kanawha county regions were invited to attend and publicly discuss their positions on healthcare issues.
The final event, the Kanawha County Social Determinants of Health Candidate Forum, was held in-person at Grace Bible Church. The goal was to expand the conversation to discuss health care and health equity issues. This event was sponsored by:
– Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc. Alpha Iota Lambda Chapter
– Alpha Omicron Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha
– Black By God | The West Virginian
– Black Voter Impact Initiative
– Beta Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha
– Charleston Alumni Chapter of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc.
– Charleston-Institute Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta, Inc.
– Charleston-Institute WV Chapter of The Links, Incorporated
– Charleston Branch of the NAACP
– Health Care For All WV
– Hope Community Development
– Our Future West Virginia
– Partners of African American Churches (PAAC)
– Rise Up WV
– Tuesday Morning Group
– West Virginians for Affordable Health Care
– West Virginia Center on Budget & Policy
– West Virginia Citizen Action Education Fund
– Xi Alpha Chapter of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc.
– Zeta Phi Beta Sorority Inc. – State of West Virginia