If it is Saturday in America, it is a new opportunity to raise awareness and encourage support for national health reform. This morning found me at One Bowdoin Place in front of the Boston offices of Senator Kerry with dozens of other reform minded folks chanting for health reform. Marcia Hams and Dara Antrum from Community Catalyst were also there, and we passed out fact sheets and flyers advocating health reform. Supporters of different national solutions were there, as were Kerry constituents who specifically wanted to improve health reform in Massachusetts.
Marcia spoke eloquently of this debate’s current challenges and Dara earned repeated applause with her suggestions about getting the “young invincibles” involved in the health reform movement. I urged participants to learn the details of the bills and join with us in educating people about the facts – the facts and not the fiction of health reform. This is a moment of opportunity to make our health care system better for poor, sick, or chronically ill people. For those of us fortunate enough to have access to care, this is a moment to extend those benefits to others, while insuring that the system will continue to work for us. I invited this morning’s attendees to get involved with the next phase of health reform in Massachusetts which will tackle the growing costs and increase the quality of the care that we receive in the Bay State. Stay tuned for payment reform this fall.
So the reform advocates decided to march to Faneuil Hall handing out materials and talking to people about national health reform. It was a terrific idea – and lead to many great conversations. My favorite was with one of the silver statue performers who loves her Massachusetts health insurance, but talked ruefully about her increasing premiums. We agreed that she would be in touch to follow the payment reform debate, and in the meantime, she is an ardent supporter of national reform. Click here to view our twitpics from today.
So, the lessons for this Saturday? Lots of different groups can get along well when the shared goal of reform is our primary focus. If you say “health reform,” tourists from all over the country will engage in a conversation with you, and there continues to be a dearth of consumer friendly, easily understandable and accurate education material to support our work. Lots of people in this reform friendly group wanted to understand the intersection of national health reform and Massachusetts health reform. A giant thank you to Jessica Hamilton and Amy Franz at HCFA who worked hard to have a one pager for us to distribute. We will have more information on our website very soon. For an entertaining recap of this week in Health Reform, please see Brian Rosman’s blog and video clips. And fan HCFA on facebook for some great dialog on health reform
-Amy Whitcomb Slemmer