I have written many times in this blog space that what makes the Children's Mental Health Network unique is that families with mental health challenges in their midst and those who work with and care for them know no political boundaries. We are Republican, Democrat and everything in-between. And that is indeed a beautiful thing.
Unfortunately, the month of August is going to see health care reform (yep, gonna happen, not gonna go away) pitted as a Republican vs. Democrat issue. If you are Republican, you are against it and if you are Democrat you are for it. Goodness, we have become simple minded have we not? We at the Children's Mental Health Network are solidly behind health care reform, make no mistake, but not because of any particular political party affiliation. We are solidly behind health care reform because it will benefit families and strengthen communities. Just type in health care reform in our search engine and you can read to your hearts content research studies, opinion articles, tips, tools and more that solidly support our position.
So with that as a backdrop I want to encourage you to take a look at the document just released by the House Republican Conference. In a 31-page playbook distributed by the House Republican Conference, leaders recommend highlighting “negative effects of Obamacare and the House Republican plan to dismantle it.” The document is full of templates to help guide people interested in leading community discussions to showcase how the health law has harmed people.
What's that you say? The Network is sharing a document that has the sole aim of bringing down health care reform? A document that encourages lawmakers to hold media events packed with personal stories from people who say they’ve been harmed by the health law? A document that encourages Republicans to hold an Obamacare “media tour,” featuring businesses in their districts that say they’ve had to cut jobs or limit expansion because of the health law?
Absolutely! In the immortal words of Stephen Stills "If you can't be with the one you love, love the one you're with."
Here's the thing - The guide is actually really well written. Broken down into bite size chunks, it's a community organizers dream. But do us a really big favor when you read it. Take off your political affiliation hat and put on your "commitment to improve services for youth and families and strengthen communities" hat. Then, take each of the templates (there are a bunch of them - everything from "conversations with health care providers to community gatherings to topic-focused forums and events) AND ADAPT THEM to focus on what is most important concerning the Affordable Care Act, namely, how the health care law:
- Creates the Health Insurance Marketplace, a new way for individuals, families, and small businesses to get health coverage
- Requires insurance companies to cover people with pre-existing health conditions
- Helps you understand the coverage you’re getting
- Holds insurance companies accountable for rate increases
- Makes it illegal for health insurance companies to arbitrarily cancel your health insurance just because you get sick
- Protects your choice of doctors
- Covers young adults under 26
- Provides free preventive care
- Ends lifetime and yearly dollar limits on coverage of essential health benefits
- Guarantees your right to appeal
Thank you House Republican Conference for providing a planning kit for hosting a wide assortment of activities throughout the month of August. Yes, we will need to make massive edits on just about every page, but that's okay. We are in this together.
- Download the House Republican Conference Planning Kit.
- Here is the Planning Kit in Microsoft word format. I saved it in word to make it easier for you to edit and adapt. The formatting isn't exact but that's okay as I anticipate that instead of a blue or red themed document you will probably go with something that fully embraces our diverse country, like... violet.
President & CEO
Children's Mental Health Network