HCAN believed that the best way to influence lawmakers and affect positive changes in health care and other social justice issues is to take action locally, in state legislatures, in congressional districts and in states where constituents and communities who are truly impacted can be mobilized to communicate with their elected representatives.
During the campaign to pass the Affordable Care Act, HCAN built a network of organizations across the country that worked to promote progressive reforms and gave voice to hundreds of thousands of people across the country.
HCAN partners continue to lead efforts in each state to respond to Congressional actions that impact the ACA, Medicaid and Medicare, to advance the implementation of the new law and to hold big business accountable for their on-going efforts to roll back new consumer rights and protections under the law.
HCAN’s grassroots activities included:
- Public Education: HCAN organizers presented straightforward information through presentations and materials tailored to describe how the ACA impacts health care for seniors, families, women, and small businesses. Best of all, HCAN groups delivered this information locally and at the grassroots level where average Americans typically would not otherwise have access to it.
- Engaging Lawmakers: HCAN partners provided an array of opportunities for constituents to make their opinions heard by organizing visits to Member of Congress offices; organizing grassroots lobby days in state legislatures; and alerting communities to take action at critical moments in the legislative process through letter writing, petition, fax, email and phone campaigns directed at lawmakers who are making key decisions that will impact our health care.
- Training Leaders and Activists: Most HCAN groups, long before joining HCAN, have had a history of recruiting and developing community members to participate more fully in political and civic life at the local level. HCAN helped people become activists; those who are personally impacted by our flawed health care system became leaders and spokespeople for positive change locally and nationally.
- Confronting Opponents and Holding Industry Accountable: HCAN partners know they must continue to fight industry attacks and other opponents of the new law even while implementing it. Opponents include those that want to repeal the ACA and those that would do away with Medicare and Medicaid as we know it. HCAN groups exposed the opponents and the insurance industry’s efforts to thwart consumers through earned media activities, demonstrations, lobbying regulators, and promoting research that shows how corporate influence impacts our politics and health care.