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Public Policy Analysis for Not-For-Profits

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Health Care Action Task Force

Jobs with Justice

A. Mission

Jobs with Justice (JwJ) is a coalition of 75 local labor, community, student, and religious groups organized to win concrete victories on the road to achieving economic justice and lasting social change. We engage working people in addressing the root causes of poverty, organizing support for workers treated unjustly and/or illegally in the workplace and in organizing an economic base that respects the dignity of the entire community. St. Louis JwJ is part of the Jobs with Justice national network, which was founded in 1987. Local Jobs with Justice coalitions are one of few contemporary examples of permanent multi-issue coalitions empowering those in need to create a community with no place for hunger, homelessness, inadequate health care, unemployment, or discrimination.

B. Mission and Objectives as They Relate to the MFH Mission

We ask the Missouri Foundation for Health to partner with us in our organizing the St. Louis Jobs with Justice Health Care Action Task Force. We are creating a history of shared victories that both incrementally increase health care access and strategically develop collaborations among a broad range of allies that will eventually tip the balance toward health care reform that improves access for the un- and under-insured. As we select specific campaigns, our strategy is to prioritize advocacy for health policy that 1) defends and strengthens employer-based insurance for the working poor and 2) defends and strengthens safety net health care systems on which uninsured families depend. As our objectives clearly demonstrate, we share the MFH commitment to promoting positive health policy changes to achieve quality health care access for Missouri's working poor.

C. Target Population

We believe that Missouri's workers are a key constituency to engage in health care reform in our community. A 2004 Families USA report showed that over ј of Missourians (1.354 million) went without health insurance for some period in 2002-2003. Of that number, nearly 83% were from working families. The problem of the uninsured is increasingly a workers' issue, and St. Louis JwJ is uniquely positioned to engage this constituency through their workplace and community organizations. Health care workers deserve special emphasis as they are on the front lines of our health care system every day. Their first-hand stories do more to move citizens to support improving health care access than any chart or statistic we might provide.

D. Priority Health-Related Objectives

St. Louis Jobs with Justice and its Health Care Action Task Force will continue to build an organized voice both of and for the un- and under-insured which aims to identify and reduce financial barriers to health care access. We will ensure that our Task Force leaders, both consumers and caregivers, are able to impact public debate on health care access by investing in their capacity through various levels of training and by ensuring they are networked with other health care advocates in Missouri and nationally. These leaders are supported by the JwJ mobilization base which puts political muscle behind its activities. The task force leaders will both draw upon and build this mobilization base, ensuring their work will continue to have a measurable impact on health care policy. To that end, St. Louis Jobs with Justice is committed to prioritizing the following specific objectives.

1. Identifying and developing health care consumer and caregiver leaders organized through the Jobs with Justice Health Care Action Task Force

2. Increasing frontline participation, by consumers and caregivers, in the public debate on health care policy issues in an effort to address health care gaps and promote positive health policy

3. Building a more powerful base ready to take action on health care policy issues by increasing both the number and diversity of people committed to the JwJ Mobilization Network

E. Recent Activities

Jobs with Justice began its involvement with health care access in June 2002 at our Workers' Rights Board Hearing, "St. Louis Confronts the Recession." We brought faith leaders, legislators, the press and public together to witness testimony on how our sluggish local economy has affected area workers and citizens. We heard from dozens of community members directly affected by the recession and one theme emerged clearly above any other--health care. Bringing these directly affected citizens and their organizations together that day, we identified a common and critical interest for our particular network to continue activities around bringing down barriers to health care access. More recent activities



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