Saturday, June 17, 2017

5 Ways to Be a Healthcare Advocate

As you have probably heard by now, Congress is trying to repeal health coverage by gutting the Affordable Care Act (ACA). This is a big deal. Independent, credible experts agree that a repeal of the ACA without an immediate replacement would leave almost 30 million people uninsured, including 4 million children.
That’s really the bad news. The good news is that MomsRising members from across the country have been fighting alongside millions of other healthcare advocates to make sure we don’t go back to the pre-ACA days! AND IT’S WORKING! We’ve seen this through a massive slowdown of Republican’s initial goal of having the ACA repealed in January—It hasn’t happened yet, and that’s in large part due to a national outcry from the tens of millions of people who stand to lose their healthcare coverage.
Wondering how you can help, too? Becoming a healthcare advocate may seem scary at first but with our five tips it can be a fun and empowering experience! Here are five ways you can help #ProtectOurCare:

1. Knowledge is power!
Before going into any advocacy discussion, it is important to know that your lived experiences and stories are POWERFUL. Facts and policy points only tell part of the story—it’s the experiences of families and individuals that help make the issue “real” to elected officials and the public! Take time to discuss your personal connection to the issue.
If you’re like me though, you may want to read through some data for backup. Here are some links to state-specific fact sheets that you can download. You could even print them to hand-deliver to your member of Congress or their staff.
Also, here are some of our most crucial talking points:
  • Any changes to our healthcare system must include a plan to ensure families do not lose access to the quality, affordable healthcare they depend on—It’s a lifesaver!
  • The American people, insurance companies, hospitals, and providers need to be able to see what a replacement plan looks like and that it will provide the same or even better coverage and protections as the ACA.
  • Independent credible experts make it very clear that the damage of a repeal without a replacement won’t wait for 2-3 years. The damage will start right away without us knowing what it’s going to be replaced with.
  • There are millions of families who got subsidies to buy coverage, how can Congress assure that—at a minimum, —hose families get as much in helping them afford coverage, (and they should probably get more.)
  • We are incredibly concerned about the repeal of expansion, especially for hard-working parents. Particularly concerned because we know there is talk of shifting to block grant or cap. There is no way to come back and protect that expansion if you fundamentally change the funding for the coverage.
  • If you take away billions from states Medicaid programs, there’s no guarantee that won’t affect coverage for kids.
Want more?  Email me at abbie@momsrising.org!

2. Share your story!
Again, your voice—our voices—are needed now more than ever. Leaders are listening and it's adding up. *Share your healthcare story here. Not sure where to start? Check out my recent blog post where I shared my experience.  
You can also read and share some of our members’ stories:

3. Write a letter to the editor!
A letter to the editor of your local paper can make a big difference in shaping the national conversation around healthcare.  Elected officials and staff members read news from their districts to make sure they are aware of what is happening on the ground.  Your LTE will help us make some noise that will be heard all the way on Capitol Hill by urging your members of Congress to support quality, affordable healthcare for ALL!  Click here to get started.

4. Talk to your Representative and/or Senators!
Remember, lawmakers work for all of us, so it’s important for them to hear about the issues we care about most. While we normally recommend calling your Representative and Senators, Congressional phone lines have been swamped with calls. This has resulted in full voicemail inboxes, busy lines, and in some cases offices even unplugging their phones.  Don’t get discouraged though—there are other ways to talk to your elected officials. Fax, email, and traditional mail are also ways to reach out to them to make sure your voice is heard.
You can also stop by your members of Congress’ office to deliver one of our storybooks full of stories from families across the country on how healthcare has impacted their lives! Read our tips for in-person meetings with lawmakers here. You can also print our healthcare storybook or request one to be shipped to you and deliver it when you stop in! (Shipping can take up to 10 days.): http://action.momsrising.org/survey/healthcare-storybook-dropoff/

5. Attend a Town Hall to make your voice heard!
One of the most powerful ways to connect with your elected officials is through a town-hall! It lets you directly talk to your member of Congress and engage in thoughtful discussion in real time. Bring your family, friends, coworkers, and more to show that your district cares about ensuring 30 million Americans don’t lose health coverage. We've also compiled all the info you'll need to have a good experience: http://www.momsrising.org/blog/attend-a-town-hall-near-you-to-speak-out-for-healthcare

As we push forward on this work, I want to take a moment and say THANK YOU for being a healthcare rockstar! As Elyssa wrote in a recent blog post, you are truly making a difference by taking action with us to protect the healthcare of millions of families! It is so very important and together, we are a powerful force!

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