Islander Julie Negrin is doing an RV tour around Washington to get people to sign up for healthcare. Photo via Facebook

Islander Julie Negrin is doing an RV tour around Washington to get people to sign up for healthcare. Photo via Facebook

Islander, cancer survivor traverses state to educate about ACA enrollment

  • Thursday, November 16, 2017 1:17pm
  • Life

Julie Negrin, a Mercer Island resident and four-time cancer survivor, announced that she would embark on an RV road trip to create awareness for the shortened enrollment period for the Affordable Care Act (ACA), which runs Nov. 1, 2017 to Jan. 15, 2018.

She just finished the Eastern Washington leg of the trip, and her next stop will be in Seattle on Dec. 4.

According to a spokesperson, her grassroots crusade is a response to the 90 percent marketing budget reduction for ACA enrollment. The Trump administration simultaneously shortened the enrollment period by several weeks and reduced enrollment hours, with plans to close the website every Sunday through the enrollment period.

Negrin decided to travel throughout Washington, letting people know how to sign up and working with other volunteers to make sure they can make the best decisions about their health care.

She launched the trip on Nov. 3 from Mercer Island’s Aubrey Davis Park, and continued to Wenatchee, Ellensburg, Cle Elum and Yakima, coordinating with local groups to bring focus and attention to ACA re-enrollment, and the importance of affordable, accessible health care for all Americans.

With time, budget and clear roads, she’ll keep going throughout the Pacific Northwest with a stretch goal of Oregon and beyond.

“I have one simple mission, and that is to help everyday Washington residents sign up for the health insurance that they need,” she stated. “For many people, especially medically frail people like me, missing the newly shortened deadline can literally mean the difference between life and death. We should be making health care access easier for all Americans, not trying to destabilize the system by limiting access and sending American families into bankruptcy when one of their own gets sick.”

Negrin’s courage and citizen activism comes from her own health battles. She had four unrelated cancers by age 42, and is now disabled. In her pre-disabled life, she was a cooking instructor and nutrition educator in New York City.

Negrin has been advocating for the ACA since October 2016 and has spoken with Sen. Patty Murray, Sen. Maria Cantwell, Rep. Pramila Jayapal and Gov. Jay Inslee about advocating for broader health care coverage. She hopes to lend her 20 years of event planning and activism experience to save the ACA and improve health care access for all Americans.

A recent Harvard University study shows that medical expenses account for approximately 62 percent of personal bankruptcies. According to CNBC, the rate of U.S. adults without health insurance jumped in the first quarter of 2017, as the Trump administration worked to repeal the ACA and replace it with its own health-care reform bill. Bloomberg recently reported that newly released data show that Americans are retiring later but dying sooner and sicker. It is projected that the Graham Cassidy proposed repeal effort would have left more than 30 million people without health insurance by 2026.

In addition to creating greater awareness for ACA enrollment, Negrin wanted to collect personal stories of the impact of ACA coverage to Washington families for her website, IndivisibleACA.org. She will also be creating a multi-county network of health care citizen advocates to respond to any further repeal efforts for the ACA.

Negrin and a team of supporters are funding this trip through a crowdfunding campaign. Volunteers plan to support her efforts at every stop. You can also follow her story on Facebook.

Enrollment and coverage for Washington state:

General enrollment period: Nov. 1, 2017 – Jan. 15, 2018

• Enroll Nov. 1 – Nov. 15, 2017 for coverage starting Dec. 1, 2017

• Enroll Nov. 16 – Dec 15, 2017 for coverage starting Jan. 1, 2018

• Enroll Dec. 16, 2017 – Jan. 15, 2018 for coverage starting Feb. 1, 2018

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