The Patriots have Vince Wilfork. Who is defending your child’s health? – Say Ahhh! A Children’s Health Policy Blog

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By Dayanne Leal and the team at Health Care For All Massachusetts

On Sunday, the Patriots are going to win the Super

Really, I don’t know why the Giants would even bother to
show up. 

And since a 4th banner in Gillette Stadium is inevitable,
it’s worth asking to what can we credit this success? 


Some point to the offense, led by the great Tom
Brady. Others look to the previously unheralded defense or maybe the play
of the special teams. And there is a camp that says the culture of class
and professionalism that Bob Kraft created should be credited. 


(Editor’s note: That’s Dayanne next to Tom Brady, his wife Gisele and son Benjamin)

At Health Care For All, we believe a big reason is the
genius of Bill Belichick. And the genius of Mr. Belichick is not confined
to the football field. To the contrary (and many don’t know this), he has
been a long-time and outspoken supporter of kid’s health.     

For evidence of this, we have picked out eight (in
recognition of this eighth trip to the Super Bowl by the Patriots) quotes from
Coach Bill, cleverly disguised to make them appear to be pigskin-related and
delivered at post-game press conferences.

But we know the truth: he was really talking about making
sure that kids have health coverage. 


1. “I don’t know what normal is. You can go back and look
at the past few years. There are always going to be changes.”

The normal in Massachusetts is that all kids through age 18 can qualify for health coverage regardless of family income or immigration status. We are proud that more than 99% of children are covered. 

2.  “This
won’t be good enough. It wasn’t good enough today. It won’t be good enough
against anybody else, either.”

The work goes on. 99% is good. Great even. But what about
the few who aren’t covered? We’re working hard to make sure that they have
access to care too. 

3. “The experience level they bring, there’s no question
there is a value to that… In the end, for me, it’s more about having the best
players that we can have on the roster. I think you have to look at it that
way. You have to be cognizant of the overall makeup of your team, but you try
and get the best players you can.” 

No one organization can get to the remaining kids who
aren’t covered. Just like the Patriots, HCFA put together a strong squad as part of its “got coverage? Health Coverage for Kids and Teens campaign”. We
partnered with faith-based and community organizations, and collaborated with
ethnic media to get the word out and reach across the state. 

4. “You can play hard. You can play aggressive. You can
give 120%, but if one guy is out of position then someone’s running through the
line of scrimmage and he’s going to gain a bunch of yards.”

There are several important players in the game of making
sure children access the health coverage they need. Community-based
organizations like Health Care For All and many others have been the Most
Valuable Players (MVP’s) to the success of Massachusetts. Some 66 organizations
from across Massachusetts stepped up and accepted the challenge of focusing
their efforts on enrolling kids who weren’t covered already. 

5. “On a football team, it’s not the strength of the
individual players, but it is the strength of the unit and how they all function”.

The team of 66 was successful beyond our most optimistic
goals. We had hoped to enroll 500 uninsured kids – instead, 1,479 children got
coverage in only one month! HCFA and its partners carried the ball and pushed
it over the goal line, nearly tripling the “score” they set out for.

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“Pat” the Patriot loves kids and kids love the Patriots!

6.  “It’s
hard to win when you give the ball away.”

All too often, newly insured individuals will go for a
needed doctor visit or to pick up a prescription, only to find that their
coverage has disappeared. Coverage is not a one-time thing. After you get it,
you need to renew it every year. The work doesn’t stop once you get children
enrolled – as matter of fact, enrolling people is hard work, keeping them
covered is even harder. That’s HCFA’s next frontier in kids’ coverage work:
making sure that the kids who have insurance keep their coverage from year to
year. This time, the name of the game is coverage retention and we have
innovative strategies to make this happen. Check out the got coverage? Campaign
website for more details. 

7. “There are certainly areas that you can improve in and
develop more consistency (in).”

Things aren’t perfect and there are changes to be made
that will make things better. We are lucky to have not only a strong advocacy
community, but also a Legislature that has prioritized children’s health.  Just like the Pats, we are working
together to make sure that all kids have coverage and that all kids keep their

8. “We’ll worry about next week next week.”

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We’re in it for the long haul. Next week, next month,
next year – we’ll be here working for the kids. HCFA isn’t interested in just
putting up good numbers for one year. Over 99% coverage of kids is only
something to be proud of if we can keep it going. The Patriots have brought
home three (about to be four) Lombardi trophies since 2002 – we’re in the midst
of our own dynasty of kid’s coverage here too. 

Massachusetts has made the choice to defend children’s
health, has made a commitment to do the work and has embraced creativity to
make it happen. We couldn’t be more fired up if we had our own end zone militia
to celebrate our success!


Go Patriots, it’s your patriotic duty to jump, play and
get covered.

Go Pats! Go kids!

(To vote for the Patriots and New England kids, post a comment on this blog with “Go Pats” in the text.  Tweet out the blog or like it on Facebook to get your friends to help put the Patriots over the top.)

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