By Frances G. Padilla
President, Universal Health Care Foundation of Connecticut
It’s been two weeks since I stepped into my new role as president of Universal Health Care Foundation of Connecticut (UHCF), and come into it with deep pride in the Foundation’s
The people of our state are in a unique position to benefit from policy changes underway at both the state and national levels thanks in large part to the persistence and contributions of UHCF’s partners and allies, our board of directors and, last but not least, my predecessor and good friend, Juan A. Figueroa, who successfully led the Foundation through its seminal development.
At the end of the day, the landmark state health reform law passed in 2009, provided the legislative building blocks of the 2011 reform laws that established the Governor’s Health Care Cabinet and the CT Health Insurance Exchange responsible for moving reforms forward. Just this morning, I attended a Health Care Cabinet meeting where it was clear that the work of the past few years is starting to come together in important ways. State efforts combined with the Supreme Court’s ruling this past summer to uphold the Affordable Care Act have uniquely positioned Connecticut to advance health care reform. Reflecting on the achievements of the health care reform movement in our state over the past decade, I am struck by their parallels with a personal quest that I feel compelled to share.
I am preparing for the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer in New York next month. The walk will be 39.3 miles. This past week I reached a milestone in my training when I walked half a marathon, or 13 of 26 miles. I am building endurance and strength as my training steadily progresses from short walks to longer stretches. It’s not easy. But each mile is a success that builds on preceding ones, increasing my chances of completing the next, long mile. On the day of the walk, I will be ready, and I won’t be alone. I will walk in community with thousands of people who’ve committed themselves to taking action.
Similarly, as the thousands of residents who’ve been on the front line of the effort to solve fundamental problems in health care will attest, transforming health care is a marathon, not a sprint. Purposeful change that puts the health of people first is a process that takes time. Together, with our stakeholders, the Foundation has given careful consideration to our common mission to ensure everyone in our state has access to quality, affordable health care.
While our plans build on our strong tradition of activism, we envision initiating new partnerships, stepping up our outreach and deepening civic engagement. In the weeks and months ahead, I will use this blog to share some of our ideas and plans and to keep our partners and allies updated on our progress. More importantly, I will use this space to listen. As we fine tune our strategies, it is important I hear from you. We plan to cross the finish line of this marathon the way we began, walking shoulder-to-shoulder with the people of our state.