A Personal Perspective on Getting Engaged with Us

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How do we measure the "health" of Consumer Health First?  in part, by the active engagement of our thousands of members, partners, and friends.  Here are four easy ways to engage with us. 

#1 - Get Engaged: Giving Tuesday- 28 November 2017

There are many reasons to support Consumer Health First. They include a strong Record of Success. But - number one is making a donation. Thanks to some super CHF Champions your donation on Giving Tuesday will be matched up to $3,000.  I know you will hear this same message from lots of great organizations. But, I want to make this personal by telling you why I have worked for, and supported, CHF for more than a decade. It is because I agree with Martin Luther King, Jr.

"Of all the forms of inequality, injustice in health care is the most shocking and inhumane."

And we've made incredible progress. Unfortunately, last year's election has meant that we are moving backward rather than forwards, on this goal. That was abundantly clear at a conference I attended last week with 80 health policy and advocacy wonks representing 34 states and the District of Columbia. We came together to discuss, not only the challenges we currently face but also to identify opportunities to move our agenda forward. Ironically, two events that happened on the conference's second-day highlight both the challenges and opportunities: 

  • First, the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) released their new "vision" for the Medicaid program and CMS Administrator, Seema Verma, spoke to the State Medicaid Directors. She used words that we would agree with "Flexibility, Accountability, and Integrity." However, we are reading from different dictionaries because Ms. Verma's are defined within the context of a belief that the ACA's expansion of Medicaid was unwise. One need only read the new policies that no longer focus on expanding eligibility and services. Rather, some of the objectives are to promote "upward mobility" and "greater independence." What does that really mean? Work requirements, drug testing, and time limitations are a few examples of steps that we may see approved by CMS soon. We don't want those in Maryland!
  • Second, voters turned out in large numbers in states like Virginia and New Jersey to make the statement that health care is important to them. And in Maine, voters won their right to expand Medicaid in their state.

That's why I am personally asking you to make a donation to CHF on Giving Tuesday, November 28. Your gift means that we can continue our work to bring the voice of consumers to the: (1) passage of key legislation; (2) process of writing regulations that put the needs of individuals first; and (3) implementation of initiatives that advance our mission of health equity.

#2 - Get Engaged: Tell Us What You Think 

Last week a member of our Facebook community wrote to say that she had been shopping for an affordable plan. She had compared prices and discovered that premiums were considerably lower in the District of Columbia and wondered why. We are researching that question now. So, please, join us on Facebook and Twitter, or send us your questions or comments. We promise to respond.

#3 - Get Engaged: Tell Us Your Story 

There is no more powerful policy and advocacy tool than the stories of those who are impacted by the decisions made by elected officials and policymakers. Whether it is the mother whose child's Medicaid coverage was ended due to a "clerical error." Or, the small business owner who can't afford the increased insurance premiums. Or, the individual in need of mental health services who can't get an appointment in a timely manner. All are the predicate for our strategic agenda. 

Please, share your stories on our website or send them directly to us. We will use them to identify policy areas that should be addressed.  

#4 - Get Engaged & Engage Others 

The fact that you are reading this means that you have probably already signed up for our weekly e-letters. If not, then now is the time. I would also encourage you to share this with colleagues, friends, and family so that, like you, they can stay informed about health care reform efforts in Maryland and around the country. It is easy to join here.

The more informed and engaged we all are the better our chance of addressing Martin Luther King, Jr.'s call to arms. 

Don't Forget - Giving Tuesday, November 28 

Go here to learn how we will use your donation and, don't forget, your support on November 28 will be doubled! Thank you! 

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President, Consumer Health First

leni@mdchcr.org