A Healthy Blog

Massachusetts health care — wonky, with a healthy dose of reality

HCFA Excited to Participate in National Public Health Week - April 1-7, 2019

HCFA Excited to Participate in National Public Health Week - April 1-7, 2019

April 1, 2019

Today marks the first day of National Public Health Week (NPHW) organized by the American Public Health Association (APHA) to celebrate the importance of public health in protecting the health and well-being of all Americans. The theme for this year’s NPHW campaign is “Creating the Healthiest Nation: For science. For action. For health.” and Health Care For All (HCFA) is excited to join the campaign by sharing consumer health advocacy efforts underway in Massachusetts which, we believe, have direct impacts on improving public health in our state. More specifically, every day this week, HCFA will highlight a key consumer health advocacy topic that we are currently championing by publishing a blog on the issue and sharing information on social media.

According to the American Public Health Association “Public health promotes and protects the health of people and the communities where they live, learn, work and play.” We believe a big part of our work is promoting public health and we this as a fundamental way to promote health justice in the Commonwealth.

For over 30 years, HCFA has run campaigns that are driven by the information we hear directly from consumers who call our HelpLine or attend community-based events. Our HelpLine fields over 20,000 calls every year from people who need assistance gaining health coverage. We proudly offer these services because we know that health insurance coverage is a vital component of ensuring access to health care, related services and resources that keep individuals and communities healthy. We also know that high levels of health insurance coverage do not guarantee access to affordable, quality health care. In 2018, the Massachusetts Health Reform Survey found that despite near-universal coverage (96.0%) for adults in Massachusetts, almost half (49.1%) reported difficulty obtaining health care over the past year. The survey also found that almost 40% (38.1%) of adults refrained from seeking necessary health care services, with half (18.6%) 38.1% siting the cost of care as primary reason for deferring their care.  Not surprisingly, low and moderate income adults were more likely than higher-income adults to report difficulties obtaining care and unmet need for care.

While improving access to affordable health insurance coverage is an essential aspect of HCFA’s work, we are also active on several other consumer health advocacy projects that directly impact public health in Massachusetts. Throughout this week, we will feature a blog on one HCFA project area and share its challenges, solutions and potential opportunities for consumer engagement. Tomorrow, the blog will focus on our oral health advocacy work which is based on the understanding that oral health is a necessary component of overall health. On Wednesday, we will highlight the important education and outreach we have been conducting around immigrant health issues and how supporting the health and well-being of our immigrant communities promotes public health. Thursday’s blog will focus on children’s health and discuss our Cover All Kids campaign that is working to ensure comprehensive coverage for all children in Massachusetts regardless of immigration status. Finally, on Friday we will discuss our prescription drug campaign which seeks to reign in the high cost of prescription drugs in Massachusetts to ensure affordability for all residents.

HCFA genuinely values each of the consumers health issues we work on and are committed to building a strong health justice movement in Massachusetts that promotes health equity and ensures coverage and access for all. However, we know that partnering with health care consumers to uplift the health care issues that you care deeply about and building collective grassroots power is the most important way to make meaningful change to our health care system! Please follow/share our blog series and social media campaign as we participate in NPHW and bring attention to the importance of health justice and public health efforts underway in Massachusetts! Please reach out to Chrystel Murrieta at cmurrieta@hcfama.org with any questions or suggestions.

Amy Rosenthal, Executive Director, Health Care For All

This blog is part of HCFA’s 2019 National Public Health Week series.