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Healthy Washington Coalition

Services:
Media Relations, Issues Advocacy, Advertising and Promotion, Collateral Development, Communications Planning, Community Outreach, Legislative Outreach, Message Development

Giving Voice to Health Care Reform


Situation
The Healthy Washington Coalition (HWC) is the largest health care reform organization that has existed in Washington State in recent history. The organization is dedicated to ensuring that Washington state has quality, affordable health care coverage for all of its residents.

Team Soapbox was hired to build awareness of and support for the organization’s five point legislative agenda.

Strategy
Team Soapbox was hired just prior to the 2008 Washington legislative session. Our primary goal was to first develop the coalition’s messages, then to design and implement a statewide media relations strategy. We knew the best way to get the HWC message across was to make it relevant and compelling.

We couldn’t let them come across as just another fired up organization, instead we wanted HWC members to come across as a handful of purely passionate people.

  • We aimed to touch each critical legislative district with a personal voice from the Coalition. Team Soapbox utilized legislative updates, opinion editorials, editorial board visits, feature stories, radio, TV interviews and letters to the editor to blanket each key district with the messages of the Coalition.

  • After the legislative session was over, Team Soapbox created a brochure, posters, other collateral and placed display ads to promote seven health care caucuses throughout the state. For each event, we placed articles, op-eds or letters to the editor in the local paper.

Results
In the end the lobbying and communications effort paid off with several strides for Washington health care consumers in regaining some affordability and access to necessary services.

  • Four out of five of HWC’s agenda items were given priority during the session. The biggest sign that legislators were listening to concerns was the passage of SB 6333 and the creation of a working group to review health care reform proposals and $1.27 million in funding for an actuarial study of the proposals.

  • Legislators responded to the shortage of primary care providers across Washington by providing $1.25 million to expand the Washington State Health Professional Loan Repayment and Scholarship Program; and allocated $750,000 for subsidies for low wage employees of small employers under the Health Insurance Partnership.

  • More than 1000 people attended the health care town hall meetings statewide and were given a chance to have their voice heard on health care reform.