Welcome to the Illinois Health Matters Blog

What health reform means for the people of Illinois

A blog by IllinoisHealthMatters.org

Writing Guidelines

The Illinois Health Matters blog is a place to continue the discussion and momentum of health reform, including the opportunities and challenges of the Affordable Care Act enrollment, access to health and healthcare as it affects Illinois. We welcome posts from people interested in, working on, or studying these matters. Having a diversity of contributors from our community makes us all stronger, our offerings richer, and our usefulness greater. Our blog posts have ranged from competition in the private insurance market to the effect of fireworks on veterans with PTSD. We care about originality, relevance, clarity, and practical application.

Above all, a post should have useful and interesting content. Ask yourself: "What will the reader get out of this?" Almost every post we publish will fall into one of the three categories below.

  • Tell a human story. One person's story can trump any number of faceless facts and platitudes. How was an immigrant's life changed by getting coverage? How did a person's best efforts to help someone get enrolled still fail, and what needs to change to fix that? What unexpected lessons did you learn when canvassing? Tell stories in a concrete way. Example: Scariest thing in the world
  • Clarify something complicated. How does a small business owner figure out how many FTEs she has? What happens at tax time when you got a Marketplace subsidy and then earned more money? How do you counsel a family where some household members are legal residents and others aren't? The ACA and the healthcare system are full of complexity. Make your post the explanation you wish you had. Example: The federal government pays what?
  • Express an opinion. What did we do wrong in the first round of Open Enrollment? Is it even worth having an employer mandate? Have you seen a solution working somewhere that you think should receive wider adoption? Give some memorable and interesting facts and arguments supporting your view. Example: CBO on ACA: Devil is in the Details

Your blog post should:

  • Offer fresh content that has not been published before.
  • Be written in a style appropriate to our healthcare and health reform audience.
  • Be 600-2000 words long.
  • Be free of factual and grammatical errors.
  • Be accurate. Any facts cited should be referenced.

Please think about and do the following as you write your post:

  • Have a short, enticing title.
  • Have an introduction that attracts interest and makes the reader want to read further.
  • Use an examples or anecdote to clarify each main point.
  • Use subheadings.
  • Say something thoughtful or inspirational at the end - conclude with conviction.
  • Link to at least two useful sources of additional information.
  • If possible, include a photo or some other striking visual element.

Here are some generic how-to's that go into more detail about the ideas above:

Send your blog post, or post idea, to info@illinoishealthmatters.org. Include an author bio of 15-45 words. You can link to your or your organization's website, blog, or online profile. A sample author bio is: Cornelia Healthgeek is an enrollment specialist at the Whiteside County Health Department, where she coordinates community outreach. In 2013, she organized 14 enrollment events.

Please understand that we may make or suggest some changes – we want your post to be all that it can be. The post may be edited for greater clarity, grammar, punctuation, etc.