State Consumer Health Advocates!

It’s only February, but advocates are already winning significant victories in 2013, a critical year for implementing the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Thus far, 22 governors, including six Republicans, have said yes to expanding Medicaid in their states. These yesses would not have been possible without the strong advocacy of consumer health advocates and their partners. Yesterday, Cathy Levine of UHCAN Ohio was featured in a story in the Washington Post about advocates’ efforts to convince Gov. John Kasich to accept increased federal funding for Medicaid. Advocates in Michigan and New Mexico assembled diverse coalitions of stakeholders to pressure their governors to do the right thing. And in Minnesota, advocates at TakeAction Minnesota successfully secured MinnesotaCare for thousands of people who would have otherwise faced much higher costs without the program. We’re excited to see what the rest of the year will bring, now that the year is off to such an incredible start!

Also, a special shout out goes to the advocates who received the Families USA “Consumer Health Advocate of the Year” award for 2012 at the Health Action 2013 conference. This year, Families USA honored Dede de Percin of Colorado Consumer Health Initiative, Liz Doyle of Take Action Minnesota and Jennifer Ng’andu of National Council of La Raza. Having worked with Dede and Liz (and their staffs) for the past few years as part of the Consumer Voices for Coverage program, we could not be happier to see their great work recognized.