Fix Medicaid. Don’t kill it.

9 mins read

Fix Medicaid. Don’t kill it.

Nothing hurts like a toothache – except lack of healthcare.

You’d think that politicians would focus on the welfare of their constituents before waging culture wars. Like providing affordable healthcare rather than killing programs. Who suffers the most from the lack of healthcare? How does it impact their lives? What can be done to expand affordable healthcare services? This blog covers:

  • Results of an extensive survey in Colorado on the quality of oral healthcare offered:
  • How to take analyze and interpret survey results
  • Storytelling to make complex issues understandable
  • How the GOP 11 Point Plan would kill Medicaid and reduce oral care services
  • How Rick Scott (R-FL) whose firm Columbia/HCA paid $1.7 billion for Medicare fraud is now leading the Republican plan to kill Medicaid
  • Groups working to build the power of people to create a fairer health system
Fix Medicaid to provide affordable healthcare to more Americans. Not the GOP plan to kill it.
Share this StoryMap freely with this link

Storytelling for advocacy

Colorado Consumer Health Initiative (CCHI), a nonpartisan nonprofit, wanted to analyze the quality and accessibility of oral healthcare being offered Colorado. Their goal was to collect data to build community support to offer better healthcare to underserved communities. CCHI surveyed over 600 people with a questionnaire in both English and Spanish that had over a hundred questions. Six hundred people. 100 questions each. That’s a lot of data!

How do you convert the data you’ve collected into a simple story to advocate for change? Keep it super simple (KISS). Overloading people with raw numbers or gazillions of slides just makes them tune out and ignore your message. This story was designed for readers to skim through in under a minute or dig in deeper for more details.

Don’t let the facade fool you. This story includes details on over 600 survey questionnaires, their geographic location, individual stories, links to more information and a call to action. It was designed with free software (iMovieezGIF) and StoryMaps which costs about $10/month.

Grab their attention

Nothing happens until someone is drawn to your story. Use compelling photos. You can find thousands of royalty free photos on PexelsPixabay and UnSplash.

CCHI created a map with some help for DemLabs to analyze the survey results for the quality of oral care across Colorado. Displaying information visually on a map makes it easier to spot trends and clusters than in a spreadsheet. This map was created with ArcGIS Online and each dot on the map represents a questionnaire.

Use an eye catching photo to grab reader's attention. Add data selectively to your story.

Use GIFs to tell your story

People are busy and may be reading your story on a phone or laptop. Images and movement grab people’s attention, but most will not click through to a link to a video. GIFs are the perfect answer for this. They’re animated and colorful. They play automatically without the reader having to click on anything. They’re smaller in size than a video file which helps when you’re on a low bandwidth connection. The downside with GIFs is that they do not include, but in most cases that isn’t a big deal since you can have captions on the images.

You can find thousands of great GIFs on IntoAction and Giphy. You can also create your own GIF pretty easily. We created one by selecting images from Pexels and overlaying them with messages from the Oral Health survey. This was used to first create a 40 second video which was then converted into a GIF. GIFs can be uploaded to GIPHY for others to use in their messaging. You can find the one we created here on GIPHY.

Why did we use a GIF in this StoryMap? It would have been easier to just include quotes from the people surveyed, but that does not invoke much empathy from readers. It is a lot more compelling to see faces of people with quotes. That’s the power of adding a GIF to your story. Try it.

Use GIFs to provide more details quickly in an engaging way

Make your stories sizzle with GIFs

Use GIFs to tell your story more vividly. Create your own GIFs with the free iMovie app.
Learn how to create GIFs

Make data interesting

Raw numbers won’t get your story far. As the author it’s on you to make your story interesting rather than force the reader to wade through a pile of numbers or slides. Use data selectively, but provide links to more details. This StoryMap includes links to:

Storytelling with data and infographics
Details on the GOP 11 Point Plan to kill Medicare and Rick Scotts historic settlement with the DOJ for Medicare fraud

Pack info to be shared

Use infographs to pack your data into bite size pieces so it’s easy to understand and share. We included this infograph on the GOP 11 Point Plan that was designed with the free Infogram app using icons from the free Noun Project library. The infographic was also converted into a 40 second video with music which you can find here on YouTube.

The StoryMap finishes with details on a Democratic proposal to strengthen Medicaid a call to action.

Close your story with a call to action and acknowledgements


The Power of StoryTelling

How do you give your message a fighting chance of reaching people when Republicans and FOX News are busy saturating the airwaves with bogus culture war issues. Stories have that power. They’re easy to understand and quickly explain how an issue matters to people and what they can do about it. Use free/affordable tools to create your own story.

Remember “A story is not complete until you’ve put everything and the kitchen sink in it. A story is complete when you have taken everything out of it without losing the essence of your message”. I’ve said enough.

TakeAway: When you have an important message to share, tell it well with a story.


Credits: A special thanks to Allen Carroll, Jennifer Bell, Bonnie Stayer, Julia Bayer and Robby Deming at esri for introducing me the power of StoryMaps.


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Reposted from Democracy Labs with permission.

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Democracy Labs is a hub for ongoing technology and creative innovation that serves progressive campaigns and organizations at the national, state, and local levels.

Our focus is on long term, sustainable and affordable solutions. An approach that is longer than an election cycle, and isn’t purely dependant on volunteers, can enable more qualified candidates to run for office and for more issue groups to bring about positive social change.

Democracy Labs is a project of the Tides Advocacy Fund.

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