Equal Justice Works: Graham Bowman joins legal staff to advocate for health care access for youth

IMG_0191As the U.S. enters a new era of healthcare for all, CCH is pleased to welcome attorney Graham Bowman, its first staff member to work full-time advocating for the healthcare rights of people experiencing homelessness.

Graham’s work is supported by Equal Justice Works, through a two-year fellowship funded by Pfizer, Inc. and Jackson Lewis LLP. Working with the Law Project at CCH, Graham will train service providers to help older homeless youth apply for health coverage under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Outreach also is planned at adult shelters that house older youth. 

This outreach will help connect homeless youth to ACA process applicators working for several large non-profits, including Heartland Alliance and the AIDS Foundation. Graham expects to handle 10 to 20 individual appeals in the coming year.

A May graduate of Loyola University Law School, Graham earned certificates in health law and public interest law, and recently passed the Illinois bar exam. While in law school, Graham worked at a variety of non-profit legal organizations that are leaders in advocating for expanded access to quality health care for low-income and vulnerable Americans, including Health & Disability Advocates, Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law, Loyola’s Health Justice Project Legal Clinic, and the National Law Health Program in Washington, D.C.

Graham also worked as a summer law intern at CCH in 2011. Raised in Columbus, Ohio, he earned a bachelor’s degree in economics from Ohio University.

“Having access to health insurance through the ACA will allow homeless people to manage and prevent long-term, chronic illnesses that can prolong homelessness. It also allows people to access medical care that could otherwise cause crushing debt,” he said.

ACA enrollment opened on Oct. 1. Medicaid will expand eligibility to include single adults who are low-income, while slightly higher income individuals will have the option of purchasing heavily subsidized insurance through the new Illinois Health Insurance Marketplace. The vast majority of individuals experiencing homelessness will gain access to health insurance through these two new programs.