Plain Dealer

Healthcare Reform In New Jersey To Receive Boost

NJ Citizen Action Education Fund announces support from Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

Plain Dealer — Thursday, February 21, 2008

The New Jersey Citizen Action Education Fund (NJCAEF) announced that they have been selected by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) and Community Catalyst to participate in a new grant project providing technical and financial resources to support healthcare reform efforts in New Jersey, last Thursday.

The organization will participate in the Consumer Voices for Coverage grant initiative, which supports state advocacy efforts by fostering strong and robust advocacy infrastructures.

"There is tremendous momentum in the states for implementing effective health care reform. We know from experience that the voices of consumers – the men and women who work hard each day to support their families – are often the most effective in driving necessary change," Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, M.D., M.B.A., president and CEO of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, said. "As states launch ambitious health care reform efforts to ensure that more Americans have health insurance, advocates for consumers will be able to make their voices heard."

Consumer Voices for Coverage will enhance the critical role that advocates play in shaping and promoting comprehensive health reform. The SI5 million initiative will strengthen existing advocacy networks in 12 states. Community Catalyst, a national non-profit consumer health advocacy organization headquartered in Boston, will coordinate the effort nationwide.

"Being chosen to receive this grant signifies that health care experts nationwide are looking to New Jersey to be a laboratory for the nation on how to increase the number of residents who have health insurance," Ev Liebman, Director of Organizing and Advocacy for New Jersey Citizen Action Education Fund, said. "The voices of real people who face real struggles because they do not have health coverage need to be heard by state policymakers. We look forward to accomplishing that goal and moving a reform agenda."

Working with Citizen Action on this initiative are the AARP-NJ, Hispanic Directors Association of New Jersey, NJ Appleseed, the New Jersey Catholic Conference, the New Jersey Health Care Quality Institute, the Women's Fund of New Jersey, the New Jersey Public Interest Research Group, the Alliance for the Betterment of Citizens with Disabilities (ABCD), Camden Churches Organized for People, the New Jersey State Conference of NAACP Branches and the Communications Workers of America, Local 1037.

The New Jersey Citizen Action Education Fund is a nonprofit, 501c (3) organization, founded in 1983, promoting the empowerment of low and middle-income people through research, education and training around public policy issues.

For almost 10 years, Citizen Action Education Fund has convened a New Jersey State-Wide Health Care Committee dedicated to improving the quality of and access to affordable health care for all residents and finding a long-term solution to the health care crisis facing New Jersey and the nation. The Coalition is made up of a broad-based alliance of senior citizen groups, labor unions, community associations, religious organizations, and groups dedicated to expanding and improving health care for all New Jerseyans.

With this grant. Citizen Action and its coalition partners will be able to expand and strengthen health care reform efforts at the both the state and national level.

"We believe with the boost we are receiving from Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, our efforts to build a sustainable consumer advocacy system in New Jersey will lead to major improvements in expanding access to affordable and quality health care to our state's 1.2 million uninsured residents," Liebman said.

"For over 20 years, the New Jersey Citizen Action Education Fund has been a leader in efforts to reform health care in New Jersey. We are excited to work with such a strong organization to increase momentum towards action in this state," Susan T. Sherry, deputy director of Community Catalyst, who directs Consumer Voices for Coverage, said. "Supporting networks that bring the views of real people to policy-makers and key thought leaders in the states about the need for coverage expansion can be a powerful inducement for reform."

Top Top | NJCA Homepage | NJCA in the News