Health Care for America Now (HCAN) is a national coalition of more than 1,000 groups in 50 states representing 30 million people. We work to promote, defend, implement and improve the Affordable Care Act (ACA) at the state and federal levels, protect Medicare and Medicaid, increase corporate accountability and confront forces that seek to take away critical services. We believe in creating jobs, not cutting programs people depend on.
We run comprehensive issue campaigns that mobilize people at the grassroots and define the public debate. HCAN is fighting to protect, implement and improve the new health care law through national and state-based legislative and regulatory campaigns built on grassroots action, public education, communications, policy analysis and ground-breaking research. We have become a respected voice and national leader on health care while continuing to focus on aggressive field activity in priority states to build support for our issues and shape the politics for 2012.
HCAN was formed in 2008 to create a nationwide movement for comprehensive health care reform. We knew the only way to succeed was to build a base of grassroots activists and to ignite a national movement to demand action, lay out an agenda for change and answer the powerful forces arrayed against quality, affordable health care for all.
We brought together community organizers, nurses, doctors, small-business owners, faith-based groups, organizations representing people of color, and seniors–all united in the belief that the time had come for an American solution to a problem that no other industrialized nation faces.
Over the course of 20 months, HCAN spent $53 million on a nationwide campaign that employed 92 field staff and field managers in states to lead local coalitions that changed attitudes, mobilized action, educated lawmakers and created change. Our 25-strong headquarters staff supported the field and helped direct a national paid media campaign and published a series of research reports that garnered extensive national and local media coverage.
The Affordable Care Act (ACA), signed into law by President Obama on March 23, 2010, represents an historic step towards ending the insurance industry’s stranglehold on our health care, eliminating the worst insurance company abuses and guaranteeing that all Americans have quality and accessible care they can afford.
Indeed, it is the most significant health care and social policy reform in more than 40 years. The ACA will guarantee access to health care for 32 million people currently without it. The law will provide health security for all Americans and end the worst insurance company abuses, such as denying coverage to people with pre-existing health conditions. Thanks to the new law, insurance companies must spend a larger share of each premium dollar on actual health services instead of soaring profits and executive pay, and they’ll have to publicly justify outrageous rate increases. States will get the resources they need to regulate insurance companies, and insurers that violate the rules will be punished.
While a number of the law’s major provisions have yet to take effect, the law already is having a positive impact on individuals and families. Now, insurance companies must:
- Cover preventive services free of charge
- Allow parents to keep adult children up to age 26 on their insurance
- Offer coverage to any child under the age of 19, regardless of health status
- Eliminate lifetime limits on benefits and raise annual limits for benefits (which also will be eliminated by 2014)
- Spend a minimum of 80 percent of premiums on actual medical services and quality improvement (instead of CEO salaries and bonuses, for example)
- Justify premium increases
- Eliminate the practice of rescissions (when a health plan retroactively cancels coverage after the enrollee gets sick)
The law is also allowing small businesses to claim tax credits of 35-50% when purchasing coverage for their employees. And it’s closing the Medicare prescription “donut hole,” eliminating it entirely by 2014.
This law has already moved our country closer to achieving social justice and equity. By the time the ACA’s main provisions take effect in 2014, millions of people will see improvements in their health, their economic status, their communities and their businesses. See our About the ACA section for more on the law and see our Issues section to read about the complex work we do every day.
Now HCAN is continuing and expanding the work that began when President Barack Obama signed health care reform into law. The ACA was a milestone in the movement for social and economic change and has reinforced the proper role of government in our lives. HCAN will work to ensure health care reform is implemented correctly and that the American dream won’t be crushed by an unfair and costly health care system.
For more information about HCAN, please see these related sections of our website:
- Health Care for America Education Fund, our 501(c)(3) partner, a project of the Tides Center
- Staff Contacts
- Member Organizations
- State Partners
- Press Releases