A Health Care Reform Toolkit
The Maryland Women’s Coalition for Health Care Reform was first formed in 2006 because a small group of women believed that individually and collectively we can, and should, make a difference. It worked! But, the job is not yet done. We need to continue our work to ensure that Maryland takes full advantage of the once-in-a-generation opportunities to transform the health care landscape that are presented by the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and our own public health and other initiatives.
To do that we must be sure that the state’s laws, policies and regulations truly reflect the expertise, experiences, needs and voices of Maryland’s broad and diverse communities. We must also be sure that our family, friends, colleagues and neighbors across the state understand that “reform really is good for our health.”
This “toolkit” provides some ideas and resources that you can use to make a difference – whether it is in the work that you do or in the community in which you live.
Affordable Care Act – Getting It Right for Maryland
To implement the ACA, the O'Malley Administration has created an open and inclusive process. We must take full advantage of these opportunities and you can make a difference:
Maryland Women’s Coalition for Health Care Reform – To keep track of all of the opportunities and to learn more about what’s happening - join our Coalition. We will ensure you have the information you need and we can provide helpful resources.
Maryland Health Benefit Exchange (Maryland Health Connection)
- Advisory Committees – Even if you are not a member, the public is encouraged to attend the meetings.
- Watch for draft regulations, Requests for Information (RFI), or other documents for which public comment is solicited. The Coalition often requests that its members join its submissions as signatories. Contact us if you want to know more.
- Board of Directors – Their monthly meetings are open to the public.
Health Care Reform Coordinating Council – Governor O’Malley created the HCRCC to advise the government on the efficient and effective implementation of health care reform. The Council is staffed by the Governor’s Office of Health Care Reform. You can make a difference:
- Attend the HCRCC meetings
- Participate on a OHCR Advisory Committee
Speaking Out Effectively
There are several easy ways to express your views publicly. When you speak out, you not only gain confidence in yourself, but you also give others the courage to speak out as well. Here are some general tips you should keep in mind whether you are writing to, or meeting with, an elected official or the media.
Speak to the issues you know about.
- Be clear and concise. Long letters don’t get read.
- Make sure of your facts.
- Double check your spelling.
- Use personal stories whenever appropriate, but make them as concise as possible.
- Learn more about speaking out effectively.
Host Your Own “Reform Is Good For Your Health” Event
One of the best ways to engage your colleagues, friends, family and neighbors is to invite them to your house for a small and informal event. It could be to:
- Share information about the positive impact of health care reform for women, such as the new preventive services available without a co-pay or deductible, or
- Discuss ways that you could reach out to the uninsured to let them know about Maryland Health Connection opening in October 2013
- View and discuss an episode of the HBO documentary, The Weight of The Nation
- Have your book group read and discuss a book or article about women’s health, health care reform, or related issues.
- Learn more about hosting an event.
Organize a Community Event – Town Hall
You can work with others in your community - both individuals and organizations – to host a health care reform town hall meeting. This type of program is a great way to inform the public about Maryland’s health care reform efforts and how it impacts them. Among those you might consider asking to be on the panel are an elected official, the County Health Officer, a representative from the Women’s Coalition, and/or community leaders engaged in projects such as the Local Health Action Coalition.
Contact the Coalition – we can provide you with resources and assistance.
Resources and More
The Coalition has compiled a number of resources that you may find useful. These include the presentations and materials from the Health Care. Women of Color Get It. Conference in September 2012. There are also Maryland-specific fact sheets and more general information on topics that include health disparities, health equity, Maryland’s process for ACA implantation and much, much more. You will find them on our Conference Resources page. Also take a look at the following:
- Campaign for Better Care – Activist Toolkit
- National Women’s Law Center – Preventive Care Services for Women and Health Care and Reproductive Rights
- Raising Women’s Voices for the Health Care We Need
- Department of Health and Human Services - Educational Materials
Don’t Forget – Join the Coalition
A great way to stay informed and get engaged is to Join Our Coalition. Membership is free and open to both individuals and organizations. We will provide you with the resources you need and we encourage you to share your ideas with us. Checkout our current Coalition members.