Pivoting in the New Landscape of Health

February 22, 2017

Every year HIP surveys its Board of Directors regarding their view of HIP’s role and purpose. One comment on the survey noted that HIP had not “yet pivoted to the post-election apocalypse.” With the potential repeal of the Affordable Care Act, health care in Santa Cruz is in a state of uncertainty. With the looming political and financial turmoil facing many Council participants, HIP decided to open the floor to discuss in what ways HIP might pivot. As a neutral convener, many saw the pivot as HIP advocating for and making an impact toward preserving the gains we’ve made resulting from the Affordable Care Act.

 

While the ACA is not perfect, it has allowed the health community to accomplish many tasks that would not have been possible. These accomplishments, as discussed by our HIP partners, include; a 67% decrease in uninsured, increased access to behavioral health in primary care settings, expanded physical clinic sites, economic growth due to patients spending less money on health care and more on goods and services. Increased coverage for the criminal justice population, large decrease in teenage pregnancy, and positive economic and health benefits to the community.

 

With many positive outcomes resulting from the ACA, the community not only stands to risk to lose financially, but may lose many lives as well if the ACA is repealed. The loss of the ACA could lead to layoffs of health providers, a decrease in coverage of 2,000 people in Santa Cruz County alone, a decrease in Public Health funding, the loss of dental benefits for adults, and the de-funding of Planned Parenthood. While it stands that the repeal of the ACA could be followed by a replacement plan that could fill in the gaps of the current policy, the proposals have yet to adequately reflect the community’s needs.

 

As HIP, and as a community, what we can do for health care is to engage as advocates. This call to action includes educating and engaging those who oppose the act in through an open discussion and acknowledgement of legitimate criticisms of the ACA. HIP partners could engage with colleagues in Republican counties. Many organizations are also mirroring to the work of Planned Parenthood by reaching out through social media to ask for support, to provide facts, and to share personal stories from patients.

 

As HIP, and as a community, what we can do for health care is to engage as advocates. This call to action includes educating and engaging those who oppose the act in through an open discussion and acknowledgement of legitimate criticisms of the ACA. HIP partners could engage with colleagues in Republican counties. Many organizations are also mirroring to the work of Planned Parenthood by reaching out through social media to ask for support, to provide facts, and to share personal stories from patients.

 

HIP as an organization will continue to advocate for health care improvement through several methods. This April 2017, HIP will be bringing to the county renowned author, speaker, and futurist Ian Morrison to the Annual Community Forum. The goal of the community forum this year is to educate and hopefully dispel uncertainties looming over the landscape of health. HIP will continue to open channels for collaboration with its various coalitions as a platform for partner organizations. Short-term, HIP will also work with the County of Santa Cruz to develop an Op-Ed for publication in the Santa Cruz Sentinel. Please stay tuned as we weather the storm.

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