Last week, Families USA held their annual Health Action conference. Advocates from across the country gathered in Washington DC to discuss health care issues, including how to implement the Affordable Care Act at the state level. Through the conference, advocates have the chance to learn from one another’s experiences and also to hear from leaders in Washington on the importance of their work. This is my second Health Action conference, and I must say both years I have left rejuvenated to keep fighting the good fight – ensuring all Americans have affordable and quality health care.

This year, the motivating speakers included the Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, Representatives Jan Schakowsky and Donna Edwards, Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley, and Van Jones of Rebuild the Dream.

For me, Rep. Edwards’ speech contained the biggest take-aways. Not only did she rightly remark that the Affordable Care Act is a large bill because it sought to address a big problem, but she also told advocates we’re in the “DIP stage.” She told us we need to Defend, Implement, and Protect the law. Here at the National Women’s Law Center, we’ve been focusing on the DIP stage for some time. We’ve fought back against repeal and defunding efforts, we’re working to implement at both the federal and state levels, and we’re fighting to protect the law in the courts system.

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