Last week the health care justice community lost one of our visionaries and strongest leaders, Andy Hyman.Andy Hyman, talks with other attendees at Community Catalyst's anniversary dinner.

Andy was an idealist and realist rolled into one. He believed in nothing less than quality, affordable health care for all. Perhaps more than anyone, Andy knew what it would take for us to reach our collective goal. He knew it would require a broad base of support and a strategy that linked policy, communications and organizing.

Andy deeply understood the importance of having consumers at decision-making tables. He knew the input of those affected the most would make a profound difference in the outcomes. It was with this in mind that Andy helped create the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s (RWJF) Consumer Voices for Coverage Program. He helped not only lead RWJF’s efforts to support consumer health advocacy but also often spoke to the larger philanthropy community and opinion leaders about the value and importance of supporting the consumer voice.

Andy was also a true partner in our work in every sense of the word. He helped build bridges to connect organizations and stakeholders. He pushed us to be better. He challenged our assumptions. He was honest and forthright. He was someone you could always trust to do what he thought was right.

Our community of consumer advocates is stronger today because of Andy. His legacy is a respected and vibrant state consumer advocacy community. 

Andy was not only a partner in our work for health care justice, he was also a friend. We will miss him deeply. But he will live on in our memories, in the lives of the people he helped, and in our work for high quality, affordable health care for all.