It’s not your typical Martin Luther King Day of service event. A coalition of groups is using the holiday to enroll people for health coverage in the basement of Bright Hope Baptist Church in North Philadelphia.
Jennine Miller, Director of Advocacy and Public Policy at Project Home, said this is part of a big push to enroll people before the March 31st deadline. By then, people must have coverage or risk a penalty.
“So, we’ve been working with our healthcare department giving out basic information,” said Miller. “Now what we’re doing is really stepping up our efforts, trying to reach as many people as possible. We’re going to be calling our neighbors, going door to door, getting out the word, now is the time, we’ve got to do this,” said Miller.
According to Levana Layendecker of Equality PA, lesbians, gays and people of color may be skeptical of coverage because of a history of healthcare discrimination.
“Outreach is a challenge because many people don’t believe they will receive good healthcare because they haven’t received it in the past,” Layendecker said. “So it’s an education process to teach people about the provisions to make sure they can have affordable healthcare and make sure they know how to get signed up,” said Layendecker.
“We’re gathered here today with different groups from the African-American, Latino and lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered communities because we all are united in the fact that our communities have historically been left out of healthcare and discriminated against in the healthcare system,” she said. “We want to make sure people in these communities know they can sign up and we want to get them signed up here today,” added Layendecker.
The initiative by Project Home, Planned Parenthood, the union SEIU, Equality PA, The Urban League of Philadelphia and Congreso will run through March.