On the Road to Universal Children's Health Coverage: An Interim Report on the KidsWell Campaign

Publisher: Princeton, NJ: Mathematica Policy Research
May 01, 2015
Authors
Sheila Hoag, Debra Lipson, and Victoria Peebles

Key Findings:

  • Careful vetting of state grantee organizations helped ensure that the organizations given grantees were capable of undertaking strong advocacy campaigns and combining their knowledge and skills.
  • Nearly all state grantee respondents believed that KidsWell funding enhanced their organizations’ advocacy skills.
  • KidsWell funding and resources helped grantees develop effective advocacy campaigns by strengthening partnerships within states.
  • In all seven states, grantees reported coalition-building and direct contact with elected officials to be their most effective activities, whereas administrative advocacy, mass media, and grassroots organizing were viewed as less effective in four states each.

Recognizing the Affordable Care Act as a crucial opportunity to close the children’s insurance coverage gap, the Atlantic Philanthropies created the KidsWell Campaign to try to achieve universal children’s health care coverage and support an enduring infrastructure that would remain after Atlantic’s funding ended. This report presents descriptive, interim findings on two evaluation research questions: (1) to what extent has state grantees’ participation in KidsWell strengthened advocacy networks and capacities so far? and (2) which advocacy activities do grantees believe to be most effective in securing policy advances for children’s health care coverage? The evaluation uses a mix of data sources and analytic methods, including review of key program documents and independent sources of information on state health policy developments; thematic analysis of focus groups held during summer 2014 with representatives from the state and national grantee organizations; a temporal analysis that assessed the proximity in time of the advocacy campaigns with policy gains reported by grantees and independent sources; and descriptive analysis of a survey of all grantees fielded during the summer of 2014, which asked grantees about their organizations’ and partner organizations’ strengths and weaknesses, children’s health policy campaigns and activities used in those campaigns, use and value of the KidsWell grants and resources, and state–national grantee interaction, among other topics. Evaluators find that participation in KidsWell has strengthened state grantee networks and capacities; most grantees report that KidsWell resources helped grantees develop effective advocacy campaigns by strengthening partnerships within states. Grantees believe coalition-building and direct contact with elected officials to be the most effective activities they undertook.