Health care reform in Garfield Park

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Henry Edwards (Photo: Jay Dunn)

Henry Edwards has had asthma since he was eight.  So even when the Garfield Park resident had a union job that offered health insurance, his asthma was considered a pre-existing condition, and his medication wasn’t covered.   And it’s expensive. “It’s a big bite out of my paycheck,” he says.

Edwards tells his story in a new video (with photos by Jay Dunn) that’s part of a series of neighborhood stories on the Illinois Health Matters website.  The series will tell the stories of individuals and small businesses navigating the health system, as well as the work of community groups and local chambers of commerce informing underserved groups about their options under health care reform.

Illinois Health Matters, produced by Health and Disability Advocates on behalf of a group of health policy and community-based organizations, is a comprehensive online resource on health care reform in Illinois.

Residents and small business owners in many underserved neighborhoods don’t have access to practical information about the choices and opportunities health care reform will present, said Stephani Becker, senior policy analyst at HDA.

“The Affordable Care Act and the new health insurance exchange will give Illinois consumers more control, quality choices, and better protections when purchasing insurance,” said Barbara Otto, CEO of HDA, in a release. “That’s why it’s so important for us to put forward this resource to help individuals and small businesses better understand how health reform will impact them.”

The site includes resource pages for individuals and families and for small businesses.  Neighborhood Stories also features a report on Ruby’s Restaurant in Garfield Park and a rundown of challenges facing small businesses on the South and West Side, including an overview of dependable sources of information.

Next month Illinois Health Matters will look at what local policymakers are doing to implement health care reform in Illinois.

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