By Leada Fuller-Marashi with The Coalition of Community Health Clinics
In Oregon, community clinics are leaders in providing culturally responsive, high quality, and accessible care to our underserved populations. While it may seem impossible to inform change at the federal level, there is so much you can do to advocate for your local community clinics and other safety organizations.
Advocacy actions you can take as a community member:
If you don’t currently have insurance and are eligible for OHP- apply for coverage. Once on OHP, take advantage of the services offered. Having access to insurance and health care is important but if enrollment numbers and patient visits are down, legislators are going to have a harder time justifying why the access is necessary.
Story collection and sharing- if you are on OHP, share your story. The website 95percentoregon.com is collecting stories of how OHP has positively impacted the health and success of Oregonians. Numbers are compelling but stories help demonstrate the direct impact on Oregonian lives. If you work with clients or patients who are on OHP, ask for permission to share their stories about how being insured positively impacted their lives.
Find community organizations with legislative priorities that reflect what YOU care about. There are many fantastic community-driven nonprofit organizations in Oregon that offer a huge variety of resources, information, and volunteer opportunities. Using their services, signing up for a newsletter, or taking on a volunteering shift helps demonstrate their value to funders and stakeholders. You can follow them on social media to get updates about legislation you care about. Depending on your interests, you might consider engaging with Stable Homes for Oregon Families or the Latino Network.
To find more information about how the Affordable Care Act has impacted Oregon, visit 95percentOregon.com. If you need help applying for the Oregon Health Plan, visit the Coalition of Community Health Clinics website at www.coalitionclinics.org.