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Don't use that word: Red state advocates conceal 'health reform' efforts

April 4, 2013
by Dennis Grantham, Editor-in-Chief
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California mental health leader surprised by red staters' interest in pursuing health reforms, so long as they don't sound anything like Obamacare


In her opening remarks at the California Institute for Mental Health (CIMH) Behavioral Health Information Management Conference, CIMH President and CEO Sandra Naylor-Goodwin, PhD, MSW shared some encouraging and surprising tidbits about growing health reform efforts with the conferences's record audience of 400 attendees.

Naylor-Goodwin noted that "The federal government really wants to see California succeed with health reforms and the Medicaid Expansion," because they know that “if California can do it, then the rest of the nation can do it.”

Goodwin jokes that, some weeks ago, she didn’t know what to make of an invitation to address a meeting in “a very red state” about California’s approach to implementing a myriad of health system changes, waivers, and the like. At first, she balked at the invitation, wondering “why would those in a red state possibly want  to hear what I have to say?" But then, reassured about the sincerity of the invitation, she accepted, noting that she would be "glad to address California’s approach to health reform.”

Her would-be host was glad to hear of her acceptance, but she found there was a caveat: "We look forward to welcoming you, but we just ask that you not use the term 'health reform' in your presentation." Then she understood: politically speaking, the term "health reform" was a no-no. But to her CIMH audience, she concluded that states nationwide, whether red and blue are pursuing health reforms but not always admitting it.  

"They're doing the same things, but in some places, they just cannot say so."



Dennis Grantham

Dennis Grantham


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