NH Voices for Health is a trusted leader, bringing together health care advocates, consumers, and policy makers working to increase access to affordable, quality health care so NH residents can lead healthy and productive lives.
Through access to quality, affordable health care, people of New Hampshire have the opportunity to lead healthy and productive lives.
Through coordination of consumer voices, NH Voices for Health advances public policy and health systems change to achieve the shared goal of quality, affordable healthcare for all.
History of NH Voices for Health
NH Voices for Health was launched to answer the call for a collaborative, statewide network of non-profit advocacy organizations who share a commitment to securing access to quality, affordable health care for all the residents of New Hampshire. In its short history, Voices has attracted more than 50 organizational partners and a network representing more than 380,000 members, consumers and constituents in the Granite State.
Since its inception, NH Voices for Health has been a leader in the NH health care advocacy community. Voices has filled a void by unifying and providing crucial ground support to the previously disparate efforts of advocacy groups and, thus, changing the public policy debate in the state. Voices has helped to unify and strengthen the community of organizations and individuals in the state working together to advance good public policy change through a focus on information-sharing, technical assistance, advocacy coaching and training, and providing opportunities for collaboration. By organizing and centralizing our efforts, we have reduced redundant attempts of individual groups and agencies, instead convening a collaborative effort that is significantly stronger than its individual parts, and Voices has prioritized ensuring that the organizations and individuals we work with emerge stronger as a result of our partnership.
Further, Voices has earned the reputation for being a respected resource of expertise and accurate information for both policy makers and their constituencies. As such, Voices has fostered strengthened connections and communication between policy makers and the people of New Hampshire. Through these efforts, Voices has strengthened the impact of the advocacy community, and changed the health care debate in NH.
Organizational Accomplishments of NH Voices for Health
NH Voices for Health, working with a large and diverse member network, has increased access to quality, affordable health care in New Hampshire. Since 2007, Voices has coordinated advocacy efforts and provided critical technical assistance and information to state leaders in order to advance state reforms that:
- Enabled young adults to remain on their family plans until age 26 (a successful strategy that was adopted as part of national health reform). Coordinated as informal network
- Ensured divorcing spouses can maintain coverage under their ex-spouses’ insurance while they transition to their own coverage. Coordinated as informal network
- Led to the creation of NH HealthFirst, which expands access to health insurance for small business.
- Provided NH Healthy Kids with authority to expand coverage options for young adults.
- Advanced adoption of the Children’s Health Insurance Program Reauthorization Act (CHIPRA) state options to expand and strengthen CHIP and Medicaid coverage for children and pregnant women, through efforts at the federal level and the state-level creation of a study commission (on which Voices serves) along with immediate action to improve access to private coverage for children losing eligibility for CHIP.
- Increased transparency in our health care system through the creation of health insurance cost hearings and a public commission to examine and reform hospital costs.
- Provided critical ground support to legislation providing: (1) the NH Insurance Department (NHID) with needed authority to enforce consumer protections included in the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA); and (2) NHID and Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) with a needed venue for working with the state legislature to advance implementation opportunities. Doing so ensures that NH residents will get the benefit of these important protections and opportunities.
- Coordinated strategic and broad-based outreach to ensure legislative and Executive Council acceptance of grants designed to give New Hampshire resources to advance reforms to our health care system, including a grant to support enhanced premium rate analysis and review.
- Successfully defended against several legislative threats to the ACA as well as NHID’s waiver request from the Medical Loss Ratio Standards, which resulted in federal Health and Human Services (HHS) crafting a compromise solution with a quicker and steeper ramp-up to the full standard, ensuring Granite Staters receive the same protections from waste and inefficiency as consumers across the country.
- Developed strong relationships with key decision-makers around the opportunity to establish a state-based or federally-facilitated health benefit Exchange and implementation more generally, and secured commitment from NHID to partner on Exchange planning input.
Additionally, NH Voices for Health has been active at the federal level:
- Through education of and information-sharing with our Congressional Delegation members, strong communications work, and collaborative advocacy efforts, Voices secured support from three of the four members of New Hampshire’s Congressional Delegation at the time for the Children’s Health Insurance Program Reauthorization Act (CHIPRA).
- Voices played a leading role in ensuring the support of the majority of New Hampshire Congressional Delegation members at the time for comprehensive national health reform through convening stakeholders, information-sharing about the changing landscape of reform, coordinating communication of the impact of reform on the people of New Hampshire, and providing crucial information and technical assistance to Delegation members and the media.
Overall, Voices has successfully established an ongoing, thriving National Health Reform Implementation Work Group, among others, through which the majority of organizations focused on pro-ACA advocacy have come together to update and discuss with one another key strategy moves. Voices has also established a credible rapport with reporters and editors through consistent, timely, accurate and locally-focused communication about our priority areas. As a result of these successes, Voices is seen as a “go to” organization in the state on health care.