NASW Health Care Reform Roundup – August 21, 2009

Aug 21, 2009

August Recess

We will be taking a break from the Health Care Reform Roundup while Congress is in recess (through September 7). We still encourage you to attend Town Hall Meetings throughout the month of August and write to your members of Congress about health care reform.

We are sending announcements to Advocacy Listserv members when we hear of a Town Hall Meeting in your district or state. Personal stories are very effective at these Town Hall Meetings. Make sure you identify yourself as a social worker. Here are some talking points you can use at the Town Hall Meeting:

  1. Pass health care reform now.
  2. We want all people covered; national policy must ensure a universal right to insurance coverage for a continuum of health and behavioral health services.
  3. We want quality health care. Health care reform must promote wellness, maintain optimal health, prevent illness and disability, ameliorate the effects of unavoidable incapacities, and provide supportive long-term palliative end-of-life care.
  4. We want health care that recognizes the need for social work services; social workers are an important part of the health care team.

President Obama hosted Town Hall Meetings on health care reform in New Hampshire, Montana, and Colorado. You can find out about these on the White House Web page. See the blog and pictures from NASW New Hampshire Executive Director, Stephen Gorin about his experiences at the town hall meeting in New Hampshire.

Executive Branch Meetings

Women for Health Insurance Reform

On Wednesday, August 12, NASW was invited to attend a meeting in the Executive Office Building of the White House regarding Women for Health Insurance Reform – Stability and Security for All Americans.   The goal of the meeting was to emphasize how important women are in discussing the need for health care reform.  The speakers for the meeting were Valerie Jarrett, Senior Adviser to the President; Tina Tchen, Director of the White House Office of Public Engagement; David Simas, White House Communications Office, Office of Health  Reform; Buffy Wicks, Deputy Director of the White House Office of Public Engagement; Kavita Patel, White House Office of Public Engagement; and Neera Tanden, Senior Advisor, HHS Office of Health Reform.  The overall message from the meeting was that it is important to remember that reforming the current health care system can:

  • ensure health care stability and security for all Americans
  • reduce costs to make health care affordable
  • bring stability and improved care to Americans by offering new consumer protections
  • protect a patient’s  choice of doctors, hospitals, and insurance plans
  • assure quality affordable health care for all Americans

The White House also discussed eight Health insurance Consumer Protections. They can be found at

Status of Health Care Reform

On Friday, August 14, NASW participated in a conference call with the White House to discuss the current status of the health care reform/insurance debate, messaging and strategy.  The White House also announced its new web page, to help separate fact from fiction about health insurance reform.  The conference call speakers included Tina Tchen, Director of the White House Office of Public Engagement; Michael Strautmanis, Chief of Staff to the Assistant to the President for Intergovernmental Relations and Public Engagement; Michael Hash and Lauren Aaronson, Senior Advisers; and David Simas, White House Communications Office, Office of Health Reform.

Health Care Reform and Older Adults

On Friday, August 14, NASW was invited to the White House for a stakeholders’ meeting to discuss health care/insurance reform and aging issues.  The round table discussion was facilitated by Nancy-Ann DeParle, Counselor to the President and Director of the White House Office of Health Reform; and Tina Tchen, Director of White House Office of Public Engagement. Valerie Jarrett, Senior Adviser to the President welcomed the groups to the meeting.  The hour-long discussion began after the group watched the President as he conducted a live town hall meeting from Montana.  The specific focus of the meeting was to talk with organizations that had an interest in aging issues. The organizations discussed their views about how to engage older Americans in the health care reform debate, as well as how to dispel myths and offer specific facts about health care reform.


Senator Grassley, Ranking Member on the Senate Finance Committee, has indicated he would like to take out the end of life planning provisions in the Senate bill.


Speaker Pelosi has created FAQ’s about H.R. 3200 and Myths and Facts about H.R. 3200.

Chairman Waxman provided responses to health care reform claims on his Web page.

For ongoing information, please visit our health care page.

Keep up with the latest from NASW on Facebook, Twitter, and the NASW Advocacy Blog.  We want your feedback:  post to the Wall and leave your comments on the blog.

NASW has posted briefing papers on a range of issues. You may want to check out the briefing papers on Health Care Reform, Health Care Disparities, and Care Coordination.

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