OGF Members Form Coalition to Help State Implement ACA
This week’s guest post by Marcia Egbert, senior program officer at The George Gund Foundation, describes a new funder coalition whose work OGF is managing. The full article appears in the June OGF Connection newsletter.
How and why did the coalition begin?
With the passage of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) last year, an avalanche of state and local issues were unleashed on how best to effectively implement federal health care reform at the state and local level.
To aid foundations active or interested in health reform-related grantmaking, understand the new law and explore collaboration on implementation, the Saint Luke’s Foundation and The George Gund Foundation joined forces to convene a set of meetings in 2010 with funders from around the state. These meetings were to help funders understand what is actually in the law, separate fact from fiction and learn when various aspects of the law go into effect. It quickly became apparent that there was great interest in the topic (34 representatives from 21 grantmaking institutions representing a very broad spectrum of community, private and corporate funders attended the meetings) and there was substantial interest in thinking through how we might best work together—both regionally and statewide—to influence and support effective implementation of the law’s myriad provisions.
Why is this work important?
We believe this new funders’ network is invaluable for several reasons. First, support for effective implementation of federal health care reform in Ohio is far beyond the reach of any one foundation to accomplish. The complexity of the issues involved call for a coordinated approach.
Second, this project represents an unusual collaboration among a broad cross section of foundations. The launch and development of the Health Policy Institute of Ohio (HPIO) has been, to date, the most significant statewide collaboration among a set of health-related grantmakers, with nine funders supporting HPIO’s operations. Health care reform implementation offers an opportunity to build upon and extend that collaboration to an even broader set of partnerships.
In addition, there will likely be competition and controversy at every step along the way toward implementation. Foundations are recognized as “neutral brokers” and conveners on matters of public concern. This effort can promote collaboration over competition among communities and the state with a goal of maximizing the potential benefits of the law.
Third, while the law is far from perfect, the provisions of ACA can have a profoundly positive impact for hundreds of thousands of Ohioans who are uninsured or underinsured and lack adequate access to preventive and primary care. ACA represents an historic opportunity to boost the health care access of thousands of this community’s citizens. But that potential will only be realized if we identify and engage creative, effective partnerships to make the most of this chance.
Anyone interested in more information about the coalition and its work can contact Claudia Herrold at 614.224.1344.