Many of us who work in health and human services do so because we want to improve lives, make things better in our world – and because we believe that it's possible for real change to happen. But I'll be the first to admit there are days it can feel as if our work is an uphill battle to make even the most basic improvements, whether because of funding issues, red tape or simple inertia.
But other days -- other days make it all worthwhile.
We had such a day last week in Salem, when a group of our community partners from around the state gathered to celebrate the Oregon Healthy Kids program. There, I met Rebecca Moulton, who, like many parents, lost health care coverage when the economy turned. Her employer couldn't afford it anymore. That left her six children without coverage.
That's a frightening situation for families, and before the Healthy Kids Program, Rebecca and her husband would have had few options. Now, all her children have coverage. She says she has been able to keep up their immunizations, their physical exams are covered so they can play school sports, and she has peace of mind. (Video of Rebecca speaking at the Salem celebration.)
This is a story being repeated across our state. Since 2009 more than 85,000 children have gained coverage through Healthy Kids and thousands of families have benefited. As we work together for better health, better care and lower costs, this program shows us what's possible; not only in policy but in the way we approach our work.
The day I met Rebecca was a very good day. It was day when it was clear to me that when we set a goal such as health care coverage for children, then push ourselves to meet those goals, we can accomplish amazing things.