Foundation's Consumer Advocacy Health Reform Initiative Strengthened Groups' Effectiveness

Private foundations may hesitate to fund consumer advocacy in health reform implementation because its effects are hard to measure.

Mathematica Policy Research evaluated a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation initiative Consumer Voices for Coverage: Strengthening State Advocacy Networks to Expand Health Coverage supporting state consumer health advocacy networks. Over the three-year grant, most networks coalesced and increased their ability to conduct advocacy. A majority of state policy-makers reported that consumers became more involved and effective in shaping health policy, and many wanted consumer advocates to remain involved in public debates on implementing federal health reform.

The evaluation shows that targeted investments by foundations to strengthen consumer groups’ ability to advocate effectively can help ensure their voice is heard in critical policy debates.