Engage With Your Local Community
Momentum for changes in public policy—such as health care reform—is built one person at a time. When you go out and build support for market-based health care solutions in your community, you underscore the importance of the issue and demonstrate your commitment to change. Interacting with other people also enables dialogue and helps turn friends and neighbors into fellow advocates. No matter how you engage with members of your community, we recommend these best practices:
- Be Prepared—Be relaxed, be yourself, and be prepared. When you talk with others in depth about an issue, it’s good to have examples and facts. The Health Action Network Issue Pages provide extensive information.
- Listen and Respond—Millions of Americans are worried about health care, and many will welcome the opportunity to discuss the issue. It’s important to highlight your key points about health care reform, but you should also listen to others, respond to their concerns, and answer their questions as best you can.
- Remain Confident and Friendly—There is no doubt that there are opportunities for improving the health care reform law as costs continue to rise and choices and options begin to diminish for many Americans. You should be confident in sharing your views. Remain friendly, but firm, in the face of opposition.
Hosting Neighborhood Events
You can engage your community by starting locally. Consider inviting a handful of neighbors to your home to discuss health care options and reform. You might organize an event dedicated specifically to health care reform or simply make a short presentation at a neighborhood get together. Sample neighborhood events include:
- Pancake breakfasts.
- Block parties.
- Craft clubs.
- Volunteer activities.
- Letter-writing evenings. If you’re in a book group, you might also consider reading a book about health care reform and discussing it.
Leveraging Community Events
Every community has a range of special and seasonal events. Many of these events will provide opportunities for you to speak about health care reform, pass out information, or host a booth. Look for opportunities where you and other local health care reform advocates might be able to meet others and share information. These events might include:
- County fairs or festivals.
- Town hall meetings.
- Consumer and health-related expos.
- Sporting events, such as high school football games or community cycling events.
Leading a Rally
In some instances, a critical health care reform issue may be under consideration in your state’s capital or city hall. This might be an occasion to organize or participate in a rally that brings people together, spreads your message, and even earns news coverage. If you see an opportunity to organize or engage in a rally, please contact the Health Action Network and let us know.
Other ways to Participate