Policy Advocacy

Public policy sets the rules for all parts of the healthcare system, public and private. Policy is decided by lawmakers and government officials but is often developed and influenced by others. In order to hold power-holders accountable for passing policies that realize the right to healthcare, the Healthcare Is a Human Right campaigns engage in policy research, analysis and advocacy. By using human rights principles as guidance, campaigns can bring technical discussions back to people’s values, needs and experiences, enable members to talk with policymakers, avoid harmful compromises, inoculate against divide-and-conquer tactics, and map out policy pathways for systemic change.

Get the basics on rights-based policy advocacy for healthcare reform:

Check out policy tools and lessons from the Healthcare Is a Human Right campaigns:

  • Why Universal Health Care Is Essential for a More Equitable Society This article explains why the current healthcare system is exacerbating inequality in our society and how public healthcare financing can help change this. It uses the equitable healthcare financing plan introduced by Vermont’s Healthcare Is a Human Right Campaign to illustrate why healthcare is a matter of equality.
  • Voices of Maryland’s Healthcare Crisis:  This report from HCHR-MD and NESRI documents Maryland’s healthcare crisis and highlights the HCHR campaign. The report draws on HCHR-MD’s survey and the stories of several Maryland residents.
  • The Policy Story of Vermont’s HCHR Campaign:  This table illustrates the five stages of Vermont’s Healthcare Is a Human Right Campaign from a policy perspective. It outlines which policy tools have been developed for which advocacy phase of the campaign with reference to the human rights framework.
  • Healthcare Is a Human Right Campaign Policy Positions Worksheet:  This policy training tool helps Campaign members to better link their own healthcare stories to the Campaign’s collectively agreed policy positions, thus enabling members to communicate and advocate for policy positions in a more compelling and effective way.
  • Vermont Workers’ Center People’s Toolkit 2010:  This is a comprehensive guide to assist Healthcare Is a Human Right campaign members in answering common questions, applying the human rights principles, evaluating legislative proposals and advocating with legislators.

Find out more about policy issues in healthcare reform:

Human Rights-Based Financing of Universal Healthcare:

Human Rights-Based “Benefits” in a Universal Healthcare System:

  • From Coverage to Care: Re-envisioning Our Healthcare System:  This statement sets out the Vermont Campaign’s position on healthcare “benefits,” demanding a shift from a limited “benefits” model, which restricts access to care based on what is covered by an insurance plan, to a comprehensive model that guarantees access to all needed care.
  • Human Rights Assessment Tool for Healthcare Benefits: This tool enables a human rights assessment of a healthcare benefits proposals, based on key human rights principles. It was developed for assessing the Green Mountain Care universal healthcare system planned in Vermont.
  • Evidence for Adverse Health Effects of Out-of-Pocket Costs:  This research brief summarizes evidence showing that all forms of out-of-pocket costs, or “cost-sharing,” harm people’s health by discouraging people from seeking necessary care and filling their medication prescriptions.