Foundations, Donors and Health Policy:
Why federal health debates matter to you and how you can respond

Health policy issues are complex, and the federal policy environment is ever shifting. If your focus is at the local or state level, you may not see the need to react to what’s happening at the national level, or you may feel it’s prudent to save your resources to deal with whatever comes down the pike.

But what is the risk of non-action? The time to ensure your community won’t be harmed by federal policies is before they are signed into law – not after. Also, the flux in federal policy is opening up new challenges and opportunities for state-level reform – ranging from potential additional states expanding Medicaid to others considering a single-payer plan.

In fact, there is very little risk to acting – but a great deal of risk to standing on the sidelines. At the recent Communities Joined in Action conference, Eduardo Sanchez of the American Heart Association urged health equity leaders to “take a principles-driven approach” to avoid any fear of appearing partisan.

If your actions are rooted in values of equity and inclusion and are informed and guided by your grantees and constituents, you are advocating on solid ground.

Additional Data and Policy Resources

Alliance for Justice

This organization’s Bolder Advocacy project has a fact sheet for private foundations on advocacy rules.

Center on Budget and Policy Priorities

A nonpartisan research and policy institute that pursues federal and state policies designed to reduce poverty and inequality and to restore fiscal responsibility in equitable and effective ways. A network of 40 independent state-based policy centers provide nonpartisan data and policy analysis at the state level.

The Commonwealth Fund

A private foundation that aims to promote a high-performing health care system that achieves better access, improved quality and greater efficiency, particularly for society’s most vulnerable, including low-income people, the uninsured, minority Americans, young children and elderly adults. The fund carries out this mandate by supporting independent research on health care issues and making grants to improve health care practice and policy.

The County Health Rankings & Roadmaps

This is a collaboration between the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute. It provides comparative data by county on both health outcomes and health factors.

Families USA

Families USA is a leading national voice for health care consumers dedicated to the achievement of high-quality, affordable health care and improved health for all. It engages in public policy analysis, advocacy and collaboration with partners to promote a patient- and community-centered health system.

Funders Concerned About AIDS

After the 2016 election, FCAA formed a new advocacy committee that held a highly attended webinar in February and is hosting a spring convention in New York to help grantmakers navigate the new policy environment.

Grantmakers in Health

GIH has affirmed its role as a convener to help funders stay informed and connected. For example, in February GIH convened a funders meeting called “The Changing Health Policy Landscape” and is hosting periodic webinars on topics related to federal policies. These are open to members, who also can access past recordings.

Kaiser Family Foundation

Kaiser Family Foundation is a nonprofit organization focusing on national health issues, as well as the United States’ role in global health policies. Unlike grant-making foundations, Kaiser develops and runs its own policy analysis, journalism and communications programs and serves as a nonpartisan source of facts, analysis and journalism for policymakers, the media, the health policy community and the public.

Photos courtesy of SEIU.

Federal health debates

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Health policy changes

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Why federal health debates matter to you and how you can respond