In 2002, Jack Ford brought together service providers and
leaders to establish CareNet, created to give health access
to poor and uninsured residents of Lucas County.
Working in his office as a teenager, I didn’t quite
understand lack of access for many individuals in the county
and the role Medicaid has in these communities. It was with
CareNet that Ford and other leaders in the public and
private sector showed that public service was about
compassion for people who needed to live healthy and
pain-free lives. With CareNet, the elderly, impoverished and
addicted could get assistance to live normal lives. A
compassionate view of politics saved the lives of many.
My daughter, Lois Marie, was born in 2015 at 25 weeks
weighing less than two pounds and unable to breathe or eat
on her own. I was to be laid off two week later
and my insurance coverage would be cancelled.
Before the passage of The Patient and Affordability Act of
2010, better known as Obamacare, premature birth was a
pre-existing condition that would have denied my child
insurance or charged enormous rates for her right to exist.
As a father, I cannot imagine what health insurance and life
outcomes for my child would be like without Obamacare.
Like CareNet, Obamacare provided access to quality
healthcare to my daughter and millions of families. When
politics contain compassion, lives can be improved for the
better and progress can be made.
As we watched last week’s debate in Congress and kept our
ears to the ground to the Ohio General Assembly, we must ask
if the public servants that we elected are governing with
Almost 50 percent of births in the United States are paid
for by Medicaid. Individuals suffering with opioid addiction
depend on this funding for treatment, and low-income
families would be at risk for lost coverage with these
The funding for school nurses and special-needs students
depends on Obamacare. Outside of Medicaid, we are debating
the protection of women’s health provisions, mental health
services and cancer treatment with the insurance coverage
mandates. If the policy surrounding healthcare does not show
compassion, we can expect that it will fall short of
protecting individuals that require it the most.
We expect our elected leaders to govern with compassion and
an open heart on all levels of government. It is not just
for the people to petition their Congressional
representatives to act, but state and local leaders must be
vocal and amplify these voices.
We see advocacy groups such as Indivisible on the forefront
of this activism and local elected officials such as Mayor
Paula Hicks-Hudson speaking out on the important of
healthcare. If our leaders in Washington and Columbus show
compassion, it will be felt in Toledo. If they don’t show
compassion, local communities will be overwhelmed and will
need to come together to soften the blow and initiatives
like CareNet will be needed even more.
We must choose to protect existing mandates as well as
reform the Affordable Care Act to make sure insurance is
more accessible and affordable for the consumer. We cannot
choose to have politics without compassion for the sake of
Dominque Warren is a former first grade teacher turned
legislative staffer on Capitol Hill. A graduate of Scott
High School and Morehouse College with graduate studies in
public policy from the University of Michigan, Dominque
focuses on education, criminal justice and the 21st
Century Economy. Follow him on twitter @DomoWarren.