Christine Stuart photo

Lola Elliott-Hugh from the Universal Health Care Foundation spent her day at several West Hartford polling places signing up residents to support comprehensive health care reform.

The decision to sign up and give Elliott-Hugh his email address was a no-brainer for Mike Webster and his friends Elizabeth Jutras and Luke Peel.

“The healthcare4every1 campaign is putting forward a bill next year so we can make health care affordable and accessible for everyone,” Elliott-Hugh explained in her pitch to Webster and his friends.

Webster, a 22-year-old chef who works in New York City, said he tried to apply for health insurance in New York and was told he made too much money, about $20 a month too much.

Webster said the insurance program he tried to qualify for along with his then-wife was called Healthy New York, a health insurance pool for small businesses and individuals. He said at the time he was planning on having a family and wanted to know how much it would cost. He said family coverage was expected to cost $738 a month. “That’s my f***ing rent,” he said.

To add insult to injury, “they said a baby would have been considered a pre-existing condition and if we had one it wouldn’t be covered under the plan,” he said.

Like Webster, Elliot-Hugh said people have been incredibly forthcoming with their health care stories. “Other people are just happy to stop and listen to what we have to say, even if they’re running late for work,” she said.

“People get the fact that it’s time,” she added.

Robert Slate, Universal Health Care Foundation communications associate, said by the end of the day he expects that the West Hartford volunteers will have collected more than 200 signatures and email addresses.

The campaign also had volunteers at polling places in Torrington, Newington, Winsted, and New Haven.

“We like to tell people that they’ve done two good things today. They voted and supported healthcare,” Slate said.

“On a day as critical to our nation as Election Day, it’s exciting that these volunteers have chosen to make health care reform their priority,” Universal Health Care Foundation President Juan A. Figueroa said in a press release. “We know that health care is one of voters’ top concerns as well.”