Keeping up with all the twists and turns during the rollout of health reform might make you occasionally want a stiff drink.
Maybe that’s what the organizers had in mind, when they devoted a half-hour of “Civic Cocktail” (aka “civic conversation with a twist”) to analyzing what happened in the first month of health reform implementation — what worked, what didn’t, and what’s in store for the future.
The program is Seattle Channel’s collaboration with Seattle CityClub. If you missed the cocktail hour, and the TV broadcasts, we’ve picked three quotes that jumped out — and still resonate.
The panel blended politics and policy. In the policy corner: Patty Hayes, director of Community Health Services for Public Health- Seattle & King County, and Health Benefit Exchange board member Dr. Benjamin Danielson (who helps provide oversight for Washington Healthplanfinder).
1) Community partnerships are a key to the success of Public Health-Seattle & King County in outreach and enrollment:
“What we’re doing…is to work with organizations that are trusted in the community, so we can reach the maximum number of people where they live, work, play or pray. And we’re working with so many more interesting, varied organizations than I ever would’ve imagined. We’ve had the fire chief step up to help us; we’ve had the library system become an amazing partner; we’ve had all the community health centers step up; we’ve had social service agencies and immigrant and refugee organizations. It’s amazing.” – Patty Hayes
2) The long-term matters more than problems with the federal roll-out of the ACA, like the discontinuance of certain insurance plans.
“I think we really need to think about this along the continuum and look at the bigger picture that’s going on here. And what’s going on, like with Medicaid expansion, is that people in the community who used to have no options whatsoever — no matter how poor they were – are now suddenly eligible for health care coverage.” – Dr. Ben Danielson
3) Educating students and other hard-to-reach “young invincibles” about their new health care options for the future is just as important as meeting a target during this first enrollment period (ending March 31st).
“We’re working on a culture-shift for the country. If we can get the conversation going this fall, get the energy going and get the marketing out and get the students talking…we’re going to see that reverberating out [into the future.] Again, it may not be this fall, but I believe, for a lot of this, it’s just about understanding and getting the message out.” – Patty Hayes
The discussion touched on a variety of topics, from ACA roll-out problems to Washington state’s success compared to others. (The state ranked second highest in the nation at the time this was recorded, just under Kentucky. Since then, states with bigger populations, such as California, have taken the lead.)
You can still watch the whole video, courtesy of seattlechannel.org. Health care discussion starts at 21:40.
If the idea of sharing a drink during a policy discussion sounds enticing, you can join the live audience for December’s Civic Cocktail, focusing on Seattle’s marijuana market, on December 4th, at 5:30pm at Palace Ballroom.