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2014 September - October

Ongoing Barriers to Coverage Under the Affordable Care Act

By Christopher E. Coleman

Full implementation of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act must overcome these barriers: delays in income verification; conflicting information about how to note marital status on applications from domestic violence victims; unprocessed appeals of eligibility determinations; a “glitch” that prevents families who cannot afford employer-sponsored insurance from receiving premium tax credits; and preserving eligibility for a “special enrollment period” for individuals coming out of the Medicaid “coverage gap.”

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Don’t Leave Them Behind

Education for Homeless, Immigrant, and Limited-English-Proficient Children

By Liz Abdnour

Homeless, immigrant, and limited-English-proficient children may be unable to access a public education as public school districts make their residency requirements stricter. Advocates can challenge these policies through civil rights complaints to federal or state agencies or in federal or state court. Advocates should keep in mind the protections of the McKinney-Vento Homeless Education Assistance Improvements Act and its inclusive definition of who is considered homeless.

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A King’s Blueprint for Change

By Todd Belcore

Martin Luther King Jr.’s fight for freedom and racial justice shows how to advocate change. To eliminate poverty, an American and moral imperative, advocates should follow—as did the civil rights movement—King’s blueprint: Recognize the need to right a wrong and inspire the masses to act. Create a unifying message that resonates with different audiences, and develop a media strategy to move the public and combat negative press.

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Technology to Build a Community for Affirmative Advocacy

By Stephanie Altman, Stephani Becker & Basel Musharbash

HelpHub, a crowdsourced website for frontline enrollment specialists in Illinois, offers expertise and feedback on the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act’s implementation. Experts respond to information requests, elevate cases to government partners, and monitor for policy shortcomings. A forum for state and federal advocacy, HelpHub is a model for affirmative advocacy in the Act’s ongoing implementation.

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Moving Forward Together

Immigration Narrative Partnerships that Work

By Chuy Sanchez, Tammy Besherse & Diego Iniguez-Lopez

Advocates for immigrants’ equal rights need a clear narrative that speaks to the public and emphasizes the values shared by native-born Americans and immigrants. A narrative is a set of broad themes and values that advocates can adapt to their voice and purpose. The Opportunity Agenda partnered with advocates in South Carolina to develop a narrative to build support in the state for immigrants’ equal rights.

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Six Steps to Broader Impact

By John Bouman

High-volume, direct-service legal aid organizations would like to increase their impact. The transition to a practice model that fosters a mix of direct services and high-impact affirmative advocacy has six operational steps. Identifying client problems as subjects of broad-based advocacy is followed by brainstorming about responsible parties and strategies. Any decision to proceed with affirmative advocacy is based on a “research action,” which organizations must recognize as valuable expenditure of time and resources.

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