The announcement earlier this week in the LA Times about the Safeway-led health care coalition would have been more momentous, if it wasn’t that it sounded like a lot of similar announcements in the past few months, at both the state and federal level.
These new coalitions often are made up of so-called “strange bedfellows,” and have vague names, like “Together for Health Care,” “Divided We Fail,” “Coalition to Advance Healthcare Reform,” and “Better Health Care Together.” They usually also have vague principles, which show that while the organizations involved are interested in being supportive of some reforms, they haven’t agreed together on too many specifics yet.
My take? It’s yet another sign there’s new interest and momentum for health care reform. It’s welcome that some new players, especially in the business community, are not simply just opposing various reform ideas as a reflex. We have worked with some of leading organizations in these groups, and know that there are areas of agreement, as well as areas where we agree to disagree. But it is appropriate to be skeptical of the goals and policies of Safeway, or insurers, or drug companies. So consumer advocates also need to be watchful and vigilant that some of these groups may well advance some proposals that are not in the best interest of the consumer.
There new entities are distinct from specific coalition efforts around specific proposals, like SB840 or universal children’s coverage, or long-standing coalition organizations with specific missions, like Health Access California. It also distinct from the public campaign that we are actively involved with, Its Our Healthcare!
You’ll notice that Its Our Healthcare, as a consumer campaign, it is getting its own press as well. But with all these new coalitions, we thought it was important to have a vibrant coalition effort focused on the public interest, on representing and activating the patient voice.
Coming soon: a scorecard of these coalition efforts…