Welcoming New Grant Partners to the Building Capacity for Health Advocacy Cohort

Original publication date: November 2023

In this month’s issue we are thrilled to warmly welcome two new partners in our Building Capacity for Health Advocacy grant cohort, and share several updates, upcoming events, and job opportunities from our network.

Three Things

Human Impact Partners, Transformative Climate Communities for All: Climate funding for unincorporated communities in CA

Powerful Partnerships for Healthy Communities

Watch: Human Impact Partners created a video series about innovative community-government partnerships that are building and sharing power for health equity

Turn on the Lights Podcast

Listen: Reversing the Harms of Mass Incarceration with Emily Wang

LYDIA ZURAW/KFF HEALTH NEWS; GETTY IMAGES

Community Catalyst

Read: In a recent blog, Community Catalyst shares about The Power of Representation and Mobilizing a Community-First Approach to Vaccine Equity and Access

Welcoming New
Grant Partners

We are pleased to welcome Mississippi Health Advocacy Program and Missouri Jobs with Justice to the Rx Foundation Building Capacity for Health Advocacy network! Both organizations are committed to advancing health justice through their work in communities and in coalitions. Below, we share more about each entity and their current fights for justice.

Mississippi Health Advocacy Program

Mississippi Health Advocacy Program (MHAP) has served as a convener, and played an integral part in all of the major consumer health policies in Mississippi, since its inception over 28 years ago. Today, MHAP continues to shape the debate on issues that affect low-income families in Mississippi, with a specific focus on Medicaid education and advocacy, by working within partnerships and building consensus about health policy issues.

MHAP is co-chair of the  Care4Mississippi Coalition, a statewide coalition of organizations partnering in support of expanding Medicaid as a key policy change to improve health and health care in the state. With the Rx Foundation grant, MHAP plans to build the capacity of the Care4Mississippi Coalition over the next three years, anchoring and convening a network of dozens of grasstops and grassroots Mississippi organizations committed to expanding access to quality, affordable health coverage and care. 

Mississippi is one of ten states that has yet to expand Medicaid. As a result, “Hundreds of thousands of Mississippians are struggling without health insurance,” Roy Mitchell, Executive Director of MHAP, recently shared in an interview. “Until Medicaid is expanded, Mississippi will continue to pay the price in lost dollars, lost jobs and lost lives.”

According to KFF, if Medicaid coverage were to be expanded to adults with incomes up to 138% of the Federal Poverty Level, nearly 166,600 uninsured Mississippians would become immediately eligible for healthcare coverage, a majority of which are people of color. 

After successfully advocating to expand postpartum Medicaid coverage to a full year after birth, MHAP and the Care4Mississippi Coalition will continue building support for policies that advance health justice in the state.

Missouri Jobs with Justice

Missouri Jobs with Justice (MOJwJ) is a statewide grassroots organization, made up of over 100 organizational members and thousands of individuals, building power and organizing for health justice, integral to their vision of an economy and democracy that works for everyone in Missouri. They believe that no matter our zip code, job, or race, we all need and deserve healthcare. MOJwJ has long served as a hub and anchor group to the state’s social justice organizations, building and (co-)leading coalitions to win minimum wage increases, protect workers’ rights, expand Medicaid, and more. 

Working on statewide voter education and advocacy campaigns on higher minimum wage and guaranteed paid sick leave for all workers, with Rx Foundation funding MOJwJ plans to expand the capacity of 10+ economic and social justice organizations in their state. This work will contribute to scaling the movement of grassroots organizations working to advance health and economic justice. MOJwJ partners include Abortion Action, Empower Missouri, People’s Action, PROMO, and more.

Everyday Missourians are experiencing tremendous health and economic inequities, often struggling to balance healthcare costs with food and housing expenses. Altogether preventable health outcomes are created by inaccessible and unaffordable healthcare. For Black Missourians and other Missourians of color, these struggles are intensified because most earn less than white Missourians, have less access to healthcare, and experience racism and bias on the job and in the doctor’s office. This is especially true for Black women and other women of color.

After mobilizing its base, sharing worker stories, and providing testimony, MOJwJ recently celebrated when the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) was passed by St. Louis City and County leadership in 2022, granting paid family leave for public sector workers. Today, building on this win, MOJwJ is creating a statewide coalition to grow grassroots power and make fair wages and earned sick time available to all.

News from the
Rx Network

The Road to Affordable Healthcare: Advocacy in Alabama, Mississippi, and Tennessee

According to a new report issued by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) and the Urban Institute (UI), nearly 2.3 million people in America who would gain access to health coverage if the ten remaining states – Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kansas, Mississippi, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Wisconsin, and Wyoming – expanded Medicaid eligibility in 2024 under the Affordable Care Act.

One key finding in their report was that if eligibility were granted to individuals with incomes up to 138% of the federal poverty level, “non-Hispanic Black people, young adults, and women, particularly women of reproductive age” are among the populations with the highest gains in coverage. For instance, non-Hispanic Black women of reproductive age “would see a 51.3% reduction in uninsurance” rates, the “largest change of any group” analyzed.

In light of this new report emphasizing the need for Medicaid expansion, we want to highlight three of our state partners in Alabama, Mississippi, and Tennessee, all of whom are strong and vocal advocates for high-quality, affordable, and accessible healthcare – Alabama Arise, Mississippi Health Advocacy Program, and Tennessee Health Care Campaign. In this short blog post, we feature the efforts of each organization and their commitment to making healthcare equitable to all.

Improving Healthcare for People Experiencing Homelessness: A New Article

In a recent article for Healthcare Executive, Meghan Arsenault (Community Solutions), Lauran Hardin (HC2 Strategies), and Catherine Mather (Institute for Healthcare Improvement) detail five lessons learned from their three-year pilot project to improve care, experiences, and outcomes for people experiencing homelessness.

In 2021, the Rx Foundation supported a new partnership between the Institute for Healthcare Improvement, four health care systems, and seven Built for Zero communities to identify and operationalize meaningful, measurable, and transformative contributions that healthcare could make towards ending homelessness.

Arsenault et al’s learnings provide clear and actionable recommendations for cities, counties, and towns to systematically reduce or altogether eliminate homelessness.

Improving Health At Reentry: HARP’s Latest Policy Recommendations

On April 17, 2023, Health and Human Services (HHS), through the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), announced groundbreaking new guidance offering states the opportunity to strengthen health care access during the process of reentry to improve people’s health and wellbeing as they return to communities after incarceration. 

The landmark policy change was informed directly by input from health and justice leaders and advocates, including the Health and Reentry Project (HARP), formed in 2022 as a collaboration between the Council on Criminal Justice, former CMS Deputy Administrator Vikki Wachino, and Waxman Strategies. After convening more than 70 health care and criminal justice stakeholders and leaders, social justice advocates, policymakers, researchers, service providers, and people with lived experiences to share their perspectives on anticipated policy changes and implementation, HARP released its first policy brief, “Redesigning Reentry: How Medicaid Can Improve Health and Safety by Smoothing Transitions from Incarceration to Community”, in July 2022.

Most recently, HARP has expanded recommendations of services and standards that Medicaid can and should cover to advance quality, evidence-based services for opioid use disorder in state prisons and local jails, titled “Recommendations for Medicaid Coverage of Opioid Use Disorder Services in Jails and Prisons”. Learn more about HARP and their advocacy for improved health at the point of reentry by reading this short blog post.

Green Arrows

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