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Consumers to Press Lawmakers on Health Care

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More than 50 health care consumers, business owners and nonprofit members on Thursday will lobby their legislators at the annual Health Care Day of Action. (Joan E. Kretschmer/Wikimedia Commons)
More than 50 health care consumers, business owners and nonprofit members on Thursday will lobby their legislators at the annual Health Care Day of Action. (Joan E. Kretschmer/Wikimedia Commons)
 By Eric Galatas, Public News Service - CO - Producer, Contact
March 9, 2016

DENVER - More than 50 health care consumers, business owners and nonprofit members will lobby their legislators at the annual Health Care Day of Action on Thursday.

The decade-old event is an opportunity for Coloradans to meet the legislative process head on and make their voices heard on health care issues.

Kimberley Jackson, a former family health care provider, became disabled in 2012. She says the experience opened her eyes to the challenges people with disabilities continue to face in Colorado.

"And so I'm hoping to help policy makers become more informed about what are the issues that people with disabilities face when trying to access health care, and how can we improve that," she says.

Jackson says the lobbying process can be intimidating, and the first time she took part she felt like a child on a field trip.

But after talking with her representatives, she says it became clear that lawmakers really do need to hear from people on the front lines of health care to understand the issues.

Citizen lobbyists can take part in workshops on how to be effective advocates and meet with their representatives. This year's event also features a bipartisan legislator panel and a chance to hear from health industry experts.

Judith Burke was a nurse for 51 years and says she'll be there on Thursday. After being diagnosed and treated for cancer, she says seeing how the system works as a patient made her want to learn more about the legislative process.

"I've never attended Health Care Day of Action and this year I have the time and the opportunity to do so," says Burke. "You know if you want to change the score, you have to play the game, you have to participate."

There's still time to sign up and share your story with lawmakers.

This year's event kicks off at 8:30 a.m. on Thursday at the First Baptist Church across the street from the State Capitol.

For more information visit CoHealthInitiative.org.

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