Posted by: kellydh | October 6, 2007

Making changes for the better

In a previous post, I ranted on and on ad noseum about the recent activity in Washington DC concerning the S-CHIP bill to expand health care funding for kids. Basically, President Bush’s veto of the bill left me feeling despondent about the future of health care for today’s youth and young adults.

So, I thought I’d look around for some groups that are working to change the outlook of the future. Most of them are state-specific, but the ideals they espouse can be used all across the nation. Here’s a look at some groups making changes in health care accessibility for the better:

Health Insurance for All Alaskans: S160 the bill that could make it happen

From the website FAQ, the bill is described as:

This bill would establish the Alaska health care board, which would oversee the Alaska health fund and the Alaska health clearinghouse. The main goal of this bill is to have all Alaskans secure insurance by making basic health care plans affordable. Under the bill:
  • The Alaska health care board will define essential health care services and certify private plans which meet the basic criteria
  • The Alaska health care fund will enable all Alaskans to purchase insurance, giving vouchers on a sliding scale to those who simply cannot afford insurance on their own.
  • The Alaska health care clearinghouse will provide information about health insurance products and will oversee the transfer of vouchers from the fund to an insurance provider, selected by the individual.
  • I’m still not entirely sure how I feel about this bill. While I certainly believe that it is a step in the right direction, I am worried about how “essential health care services” will be determined, and if that will mean a decrease in health standards for some.

    We Can Do Better : the effort in Oregon on behalf of the Archimedes Movement to pass the Healthy Oregon Act

    Members of the Lewis & Clark College Health Culture and Society club that I help run at my school have been a part of making this reform group grow. Created by former Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber, the Archimedes Movement works to enact legislation to provide universal health care as a basic right for all citizens, beginning with the Healthy Oregon Act. Do check out their site — this is a great movement that is worthy of recognition and praise.

    Here’s an excerpt from the website:

    We Can Do Better at getting health for the dollars we spend on health care. We don’t have to startrotatephp.jpe from scratch; we have great expertise in this country to learn from. We have to start by asking “what do we need in order to achieve better health, and how can we design a system that actually gets us there?”

    We started by asking ourselves, “If anything were possible, how would we design a new health system?” If we weren’t constrained by the system we have today – the one we all know isn’t working – what would a new, better system look like?

    We want a system that is just and fair, that provides a benefit to all of us, and where everyone shares in responsibility. The system has to be affordable over the long haul and reward prevention and effectiveness. And the average person must understand how decisions are made.

    Health Care For All : Initiative in Massachussets to reform health care

    Mission statement:

    HCFA seeks to create a consumer-centered health care system that provides comprehensive, affordable, accessible, culturally competent, high quality care and consumer education for everyone, especially the most vulnerable. We work to achieve this as leaders in public policy, advocacy, education and service to consumers in Massachusetts.

    Community Catalyst :

    “Community Catalyst is a national non-profit advocacy organization working to build the consumer and community leadership that is required to transform the American health system.  We believe that this transformation will happen when consumers are fully engaged and have an organized voice.

    “From Oregon to Orlando, Community Catalyst strengthens organized consumer voices wherever important decisions about the health system are made: in communities when hospitals go up for sale; in courtrooms where consumers challenge the illegal practices of drug companies; and in statehouses when advocates strive to win improvements in health care programs.”

    Families USA :

    “Families USA is a national nonprofit, non-partisan organization dedicated to the achievement of high-quality, affordable health care for all Americans.”

    Basically, it’s a national organizational center for public health action, advocacy and awareness organizations.  There’s too much for me to describe here, just go to the site and check it out!

    Have fun exploring a world of change. 🙂


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