We’re at a unique moment in American history where the window of opportunity to pass monumental health care reform is open. PPEF’s work in 2008 set the stage for the fight to change the public debate to make it possible to pass national health care reform as well as continue building on momentum to expand health coverage on the state level and reinstate fairness and consumer protection to New York’s current private health insurance systems.
This year, PPEF has built on the foundation of 20 years of health care organizing by moving from growing public demand for health reform to the critical mass needed to pass quality, affordable health care for everyone in America.
Key to building the critical mass will be continuing the expansion of our coalition effort started in 2008. PPEF will continue to work with hundreds of allies on the state and federal levels. Bound by the Standards for Health Reform on the state level and the Statement of Common Purpose on the federal level, we will work with our allies to project our common goals. Through broad education campaigns, we will focus on promoting the need for quality, affordable health care for everyone through personal stories, earned media, and large public events.
PPEF’s health care effort will tie directly into our goals of working at a grassroots and local level, developing leaders and promoting race equity. A fundamental theme in the 2009 effort to promote health care for everyone will be the need for a fair and just economic system that puts the needs of working families first by providing real health care and, at the same time, making the case for racial equity within the new health care systems we are fighting for. Central to this goal will be lifting the voices of the uninsured and underinsured New Yorkers and developing leaders of color, and immigrant communities to be a lead voice in the health care campaign effort. On a policy level, PPEF will use the Standards for Health Care Reform to measure the effectiveness of the race equity portion of any health plan.
PPEF is one of eight founding organizations of Health Care for All New York (HCFANY), a statewide coalition dedicated to winning affordable, comprehensive, and high quality health care for all. HCFANY is organized around the Standards for Health Care Reform mentioned above, and all member organizations commit to promoting these standards in the health reform arena.
You can learn more about HCFANY, follow our work, and get involved here.
In the winter and spring of 2009, PPEF focused on the key issues surrounding health care on the state level to ensure health care coverage to New Yorkers at this most critical time of economic crisis. From January through April, our education work was focused on making the case for expansion of New York’s Family Health Plus public insurance programs and make them available to more working families in New York. We also worked to protect against insurance premium hikes on New York’s nationally renowned Child Health Plus program so working families don’t experience increased premiums for critical program precisely when they can least afford it.
In the late spring of 2009, PPEF’s state health care focus shifted to ensuring that the new State Senate Majority, the Assembly and the Administration understand the need to keep their promise to re-instate prior approval of rate increases by private health insurance companies. PPEF kept the pressure on New York’s Partnership for Coverage process started in 2008 and advocated for a plan from the state to further regulate the private health insurance industry and set forth building blocks toward overall state reform of the health care system.
During this time, we used our state efforts not only to gain these critical state reforms, but also to draw attention to the need for an overhaul of the health care system at the national level. As New York’s legislative session closed in the late spring of 2009, PPEF shifted its focus almost entirely to the national reform effort.
PPEF will conduct the following activities in 2009:
- Further develop coalition and grassroots base – PPEF will work to further engage and coordinate efforts with other organizations on the state and federal level to build consensus on the need for change among state level reformers and national allies. We will also expand and strengthen regional health care committees in key areas of the state, building on already active committees in Long Island, the Southern Tier, Capital District, the Hudson Valley and Western New York. PPEF will expand the number of leaders and grassroots volunteers and hold monthly health reform team meetings.
- Create a Health Care Speakers’ Training curriculum and hold Speaker’s Trainings – PPEF organizers will train grassroots leaders to become spokespeople for the campaign. We will conduct Speakers’ Trainings in 4 regions, training 8-12 leaders in each region to speak to the media and legislators, as well as recruit other activists and sign on new, regionally based coalition partners.
- Build public support through earned media – PPEF will support through research and preparation of educational materials regular media events that earn print, radio and TV media. Media events will be centered on releases of research reports that show the need for health care reform. Media events will take place in all five regions cited above.