HB 5 was signed into law yesterday. This legislation reforms public education at the high school level via revised testing, curriculum, and accountability. It was supported by TAMSA - Texans Advocating for Meaningful Student Assessments - a statewide, grassroots organization comprised of parents and other community members.
What is perhaps most intriguing about TAMSA is that it started as a group of eight moms from Austin and Houston who were concerned about state testing mandates. A group of angry moms turned into a movement that was a game changer in the Texas Legislature. Imagine that.
Now, take a moment to ponder what health care consumers could do with an effort like this. They could revolutionize health care.
In an article from the Austin American-Statesman entitled "Mom's group shakes up status quo on Texas' testing regimen", the problem and solution was summed up quite nicely by Theresa Treviño, one of the mothers who helped to launch the group:
“Who allowed these big boys to go and play in education? Now the moms have to clean it up, as usual.”
Those are fightin' words. Change starts with a "we won't take no for an answer" and "we aren't frightened by anyone" mentality.
But it gets better. House Public Education Committee Chairman Jimmie Don Aycock, who authored the legislation, noted -
“I think their grass roots are certainly more of an impact than many of the so-called power brokers … for a lot less money.”
If a group of mothers can put the world of education on its ear, then surely health care consumers can establish sweeping changes in health care. That would include issues of access, cost and quality.
Health care-related donors and political action committees are driving health care policy in the state of Texas. Many of these groups are in place to support agendas that have nothing to do with the best interests of patients. So unless you've got a spare $1 million or so floating around, then you won't be playing the game on an even playing field.
Unless, of course, you take a different strategy. Change won't take place without getting a lot of people upset with their current reality. Enter the angry moms.
Imagine if you had just 0.1% (26,000) of the 26 million residents of Texas - all affected by the issues of access, quality, and cost of health care - involved in a united outcry. Now THAT would gain some attention, and I can almost guarantee that legislators would stand up and take note.
Maybe health care just needs some angry moms - or the health care equivalent. It could get a lot accomplished, and quickly.
Or, I guess we could just keep doing things like we've been doing - pass the hat or collection plate and keep playing an unsustainable game with little return on investment.
It's your choice. I am with the moms on this one.
Photo credits: amandabhslater