Press Release             

Contact: Nathan Heggem
Senior Communications and
Policy Associate

October 5, 2011

Medicare Rights Center Releases Report on Building Advocacy Coalitions
--Report Examines Value of Coalitions, Steps Involved in Coalition-Building--

New York, NY–The Medicare Rights Center today released a report on the value of coalitions for individuals and organizations engaged in Medicare advocacy. The report, Strength in Numbers: A Guide to Building Effective Medicare Advocacy Coalitions, examines reasons and best practices for forming a coalition, and provides case studies that illustrate the experience of coalition-building in regions throughout the country. The report also includes several tools organizations can use when forming a new coalition, including a step-by-step guide, a coalition capacity checklist and a list of attributes of effective coalitions.

“This thorough analysis of the nature of Medicare advocacy coalitions is significant at a time when policymakers in Washington are considering cuts to the Medicare program,” said Joe Baker, president of the Medicare Rights Center. “Medicare Rights is proud to lead the effort, as we’ve done in New York State and nationally, to ensure that individuals and organizations can more efficiently and effectively communicate the importance of quality health care in the lives of older adults and people with disabilities.”

Through a project funded by the Atlantic Philanthropies, Medicare Rights is working in selected states—Alabama, Florida, Kansas, Maine and Wisconsin—to launch and inform Medicare Advocacy Coalitions, bringing together consumers, advocacy organizations, policymakers and other stakeholders to help ensure that health and social service programs are responsive to the needs of people with Medicare. The report examines the coalition-building experience of several organizations in these states.

“Our coalition building efforts in Florida have led to strong relationships with fellow advocates, health care consumers, providers and even the health industry. We've learned about the importance of having a clearly defined strategy, but also about our tangible successes, including increasing the state's tobacco tax to fund health care and stalling expansion of privatized Medicaid,” said Laura Goodhue, executive director of the Florida Community Health Action Information Network (Florida CHAIN).

“Coalition-building is at the heart of our work to create a coordinated voice for uninsured and underinsured consumers in Kansas,” said Anna Lambertson, executive director of the Kansas Health Consumer Coalition. “We consider the process to be essential for building common purpose and action among diverse groups. It's been particularly important as we've worked to help pass clean indoor air legislation, improve awareness of the devastating impact of medical debt on low-income and underserved consumers, and more recently, to lead an alliance around supporting the health insurance exchange planning process in Kansas.”

The report was made possible by funding from the Public Welfare Foundation and the Atlantic Philanthropies.

Read the report at:


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Fall Open Enrollment: A Resource for Journalists

Not sure how to frame your Medicare story for the upcoming Fall Open Enrollment period? The Medicare Rights Center is pleased to share with you our Fall Open Enrollment resource for journalists. Of specific importance is this year’s date change: the enrollment season will now begin on October 15 and end on December 7.
The resource is available on our website at:

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Medicare Rights Center is a national, nonprofit consumer service organization that works to ensure access to affordable health care for older adults and people with disabilities through counseling and advocacy, educational programs, and public policy initiatives.


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