What Is Health Care Advocacy, and How Can You Get Involved?

The Pennsylvania state budget process is heating up this month, and you might be surprised to know there are several important groups, other than the legislators, involved in shaping the final budget.

There are hundreds of advocacy groups in Pennsylvania, and the goal of these organizations is to educate policymakers, stakeholders, and the public about issues facing their specific interests. Some groups, such as the American Cancer Society, the American Heart Association, the Mental Health Association in Pennsylvania, and many others, you might have heard of.

Every spring, many of these groups, often composed of advocates who have been personally impacted by specific health issues, visit the Capitol in Harrisburg. The purpose of these visits is to remind policymakers of the many ways in which legislation and funding can make a difference in their treatment, access to care, and quality of life.

These firsthand experiences are beneficial for advocates, as well as the legislators and staff, because they provide critical context and an opportunity for passionate Pennsylvanians to share personal testimony about their experiences.

If you’d like to get involved in health care advocacy and the legislative process, keep an eye out for opportunities to contact your legislators on key health care issues. You can also find many resources online regarding Pennsylvania chapters of national advocacy groups. Exercise your voice, and speak up!