The Medicare Rights Center’s unique blend of direct service and policy advocacy work is spotlighted in a recent report by Mathematica Policy Research, which describes and assesses the Consumer Voices for Coverage (CVC) initiative. Funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and co-led by Community Catalyst, CVC’s overarching goal at its inception in 2007 was to build strong consumer health advocacy networks that would advocate for increased levels of health insurance coverage in states and nationally. With the passage of the Affordable Care Act in 2010, CVC changed its focus to support state and local efforts to inform eligible individuals about new insurance options.
Medicare Rights has participated in the CVC initiative by working in coalition with Health Care for All New York (HCFANY) to increase health insurance enrollment in New York—particularly among vulnerable populations—and provide consumer feedback to state and federal policymakers. The Mathematica evaluation of HCFANY and other state-based coalition work concludes that a strategic combination of consumer service and policy advocacy is useful for achieving a range of health policy outcomes.[x_blockquote cite=”Mathematica Evaluation of the Consumer Voices for Coverage Initiative, Phase 3″ type=”left”]“This type of approach is used by the Medicare Rights Center to ensure access to affordable health care for older adults and people with disabilities. Efforts to measure and improve quality of care and to support value-based payment programs would also benefit from a stronger connection with and understanding of consumer needs and experiences.”[/x_blockquote]Dovetailing nicely with this recommendation is Medicare Rights’ new health system transformation work supported by the United Hospital Fund and the AARP Public Policy Institute. Under this new endeavor, Medicare Rights is improving its understanding of the Medicare-related health system transformation landscape, identifying consumer needs within new models, and encouraging policymakers to make these models as responsive to Medicare consumers and their families as possible.
Medicare Rights is already fielding questions about health system transformation on its national helpline, and grant support enables the organization to carry 25 years of direct consumer experience to policymakers as new payment, quality, and delivery system models are developed and launched.