This post was written by Gretchen Hammer, a previous member of our team.
The day-to-day work of an advocacy organization is not glamorous. We don’t walk the red carpet to attend countless committee meetings nor do we have personal assistants to read and track all the rules and regulations. Instead, we spend hours in conversation with communities or buried in complicated reports trying to tackle some of our most complex and vexing health care challenges. So when I get a reminder of why and how this work matters—that our efforts to increase access to health insurance and health care for underserved Coloradans really makes an impact—well, that’s a really good feeling.
As the Executive Director of CCMU, my summer reading list includes articles from peer-reviewed journals, such as Health Affairs, and studies that include regression analysis formulas, statistical significance, and standard deviations. While not necessarily quick reads, these articles are critical for me to tackle. Studies released this summer have confirmed what many of us intuitively know – access to comprehensive health insurance and to community-based primary care improve peoples’ health and their lives.
In one of these studies, low-income adults in Oregon who, literally, won the lottery to enroll in Medicaid, had greater access to health care services and better self-reported health than similar individuals not given the opportunity to apply for Medicaid. A recent analysis of Colorado’s own data has shown that the ability to get routine health care at a health center in their community decreases the likelihood that Medicaid patients will need and receive additional care at more expensive hospital settings.
These studies demonstrate the impact of our work at CCMU, and the work that thousands of other dedicated health care advocates are doing across the country. Today I’m celebrating this great reminder of why and how what we do matters, and hope you do, too!