In recent years, the “Obamacare” reforms have been one of the most controversial issues in American life. The reforms will have and are having an effect on many of the people with whom social workers deal. Social workers as individuals can help to educate Americans about the myths of healthcare reform by talking to their clients, to their friends, and perhaps to any media outlets that will air their views. Social workers as a group can use their professional associations to reach a broader audience of Americans with their message about healthcare reform.
Individual social workers can educate other Americans about healthcare reform on a relatively small scale. Mostly, they can do so through their personal interactions. When they are with clients, they can tell those clients about aspects of the reforms that will be beneficial. They can also bring up myths that might deter their clients from seeking healthcare under the new laws. For example, they might discuss the myth of the “death panels” with elderly clients in hopes that those clients will not be misled into avoiding care. When social workers are with their friends and family members, they can talk about how the reforms are beneficial to their clients. They can put forward the idea that the reforms will help many of the neediest Americans and they can refute myths that they hear their friends discussing. On a larger scale, they can write letters to the editors of newspapers in which they discuss healthcare reforms from their point of view as professional social workers.
Social workers as a group can use professional associations to educate Americans on a larger scale. They can, for example, try to get radio and television talk shows to book social work spokespeople on programs that address the issue of healthcare reform. These spokespeople can reach a broad audience and can explain the ways in which the myths about healthcare reform are inaccurate. Thus, social workers as individuals and as a group can play a role in educating American citizens about myths regarding healthcare reform.