Giving Compass' Take:

• The author highlights the gaps in the healthcare system exacerbated by COVID-19, and ways for philanthropic investment to help. 

• Philanthropy can work in tandem with state governments to help increase access, quality, and equity within the healthcare system. What might these partnerships look like? 

• Learn more on what COVID-19 revealed about our primary healthcare system. 

My husband recently needed an IV, but his veins run very deep. The tech used a “vein finder” that employs infrared technology to highlight the vein structure. It was amazing to see his veins light up, just like that. I am reminded of this today as I stay inside, working and leading from home during the COVID-19 pandemic. So many people here in Connecticut and across the country live deep beneath the affluent surface. This virus, like the infrared technology, has highlighted the fault lines in our fragmented health care system through which many of them are falling.

The organization I lead, Universal Health Care Foundation of Connecticut, has been working on filling these cracks for 20 years. We and our partners have been able to achieve important public policy wins, but the fissures run deep. Too often, our elected leaders listen to the voices of a powerful few over the needs of the broader electorate; residents who deserve universal access to quality, equitable, and affordable health care.

COVID-19 is highlighting what we have long believed:

  • Health insurance should not be tied to employment.
  • Government should use its negotiating power to lower prices and get better value for the health care dollar.
  • Any vaccine or drug developed to treat COVID-19 should be a public good, affordable and available to everyone in this country, and distributed equitably throughout the world.
  • We need to increase investments in public health.

Philanthropy needs to lead, too. It is time to bolster the demand for government to act on behalf of people. Grants to fill the gaps caused by our fragmented system are important, but philanthropic investments will never be enough. More of us can do grantmaking in support of advocacy and organizing.

Read the full article about philanthropic investments by Frances G. Padilla at Grantmakers In Health.