Thank you so much for your hard work the last several months to defeat the ACA Repeal Bill, the American Health Care Act. Your energy through thousands of calls, protests, emails and tweets was amazing and inspirational to all of us. Although the ACHA passed the House yesterday, it did so with a very slim margin (217-213) and POC-IL is ready to continue to fight back!

 

As the bill now goes to the Senate (where Illinois has strong health advocates in Sen. Durbin and Sen. Duckworth), the most important thing to do is to make the seven Illinois House Republicans who voted for the disastrous bill to feel pressure and blowback from their constituents. Your voice is extremely important in holding your Member of Congress accountable, especially because we assume that the Senate will make changes to the bill and then it will come back (in some form) to the House.

 

If you can in the next few days or early next week, please write a letter to the editor (LTE) of your local newspaper. Please also share this information with your membership and colleagues. Below is a list of some local Illinois newspapers (thanks to Planned Parenthood for this). Your letter should be short (preferably 150 words max, or 2-3 paragraphs) and include:

 

  • A sentence condemning the vote of your Member of Congress (or alternately, thanking one if you live in a D district as all Dems voted “no”)
  • A few sentences about what the AHCA would do to you, your family/friend/neighbor or your constituents. For example, “My husband had cancer and had to undergo treatment that would have cost us hundreds of thousands of dollars before the ACA. Now I’m scared that if he ever loses his job, we won’t be able to afford insurance because of his pre-existing condition” OR “I work with hundreds of hard working men and women who depend on Medicaid. They have told me what a life saver Medicaid has been to them personally. Now with the $800 Billion Medicaid cuts in AHCA, I’m extremely concerned that we will go back to the days where low income people were forced to get their health care at the emergency room.”
  • End with a sentence like – “We cannot let this shameful bill go any further in Congress.”
  • Sign the letter with your full name, city you live in, phone number where you can be reached.

 

We have drafted five sample LTEs below. Please use these to get started in thinking this through, but personalize your LTE as much as possible. If you want additional resources for inspiration, we have a post-vote statement and fact sheets on the POC-IL website resources page including this AHCA talking points fact sheet.

Also, Families USA has some great blogs on the AHCA here and here

Thank you, in advance, for making your voice heard! Let us know if you need help submitting the LTEs and please let us know if you get a letter placed so that we can share and boost on social media!

 

Best,

Stephani Becker and Stephanie Altman

 

 

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Sample LTE for a Health Care Consumer with pre-existing condition

Dear Editor

 

I live in (city) in Illinois and I am a (woman/man) who is (age) years old. I have a pre-existing health care condition. I been diagnosed with (or treated for) (name the condition, e.g. asthma, diabetes, cancer, etc.) in the past (year/s). I have insurance now through (my employer or the Marketplace) and pay an affordable premium. I am very thankful that under the Affordable Care Act (ObamaCare) I have been able to get health care coverage even though I have a pre-existing condition. Before the ACA, I could not get insurance because of my pre-existing condition (or I could get insurance but coverage was excluded for my pre-existing condition so my insurance would not pay for my treatment.) I am very concerned (scared, worried, angry, etc.) that if Congress passes the American Health Care Act which allows states and employers to choose to not cover pre-existing conditions anymore, that I will not have health insurance in the near future. I am worried that I will not be able to pay for my treatment for (name condition) without insurance coverage and that I will suffer physically and financially. If I cannot afford treatment for (name condition), I am afraid I will get sicker and (my family could suffer financial ruin or bankruptcy). I am asking my legislators and representatives do everything they can to stop the AHCA from becoming law. My life depends upon it.


Sample LTE for a Health Care Consumer who has a child with a disability

 

Dear Editor

 

My name is (name) and I live in (town). My child is (name, age) and she/he has a disability (autism, developmental/intellectual disability, cerebral palsy etc.) and has an Individualized Education Plan. I rely on his/her school to help us care for him/her and provide (specialize instruction, therapy and support). At school, he/she receives special education services including (speech/occupational/physical therapy, an aide in his/her classroom, technology accommodations, etc.) Our school is required by law to provide these services and the school receives federal funding through the Medicaid program to pay for the services for my child. Many people don’t even know that Medicaid is federal funding to help children with disabilities learn, thrive, and grow up to (become self-sufficient, live on their own and engage as active members in their communities). Our community and schools rely on Medicaid to help my child and other children integrate into the school which helps teach all children about relating to children who are different from themselves. Integrating children with disabilities into schools funded by Medicaid helps the child with the disability learn and helps his/her classmates learn about diversity, inclusion and empathy. I am very concerned that Congress will pass the AHCA and that Illinois will lose billions of dollars in Medicaid funding and that schools will lose the ability to care for children like my son/daughter. I don’t know where we will turn for help as families with children with disabilities or how our community and school districts will survive that funding shortfall.

 

Sample LTE for a Service Provider

Dear Editor

 

I am a resident of Illinois and I live in (name town). I work at (social service agency, medical provider, child care provider, local government, etc.) and I/we provide (care for older adults to stay in their home, services for homeless individuals to support them in the community, day care for young children, etc.) My organization relies on state funding to provide services to our community. Since the onset of the budget impasse in 2015, my organization has suffered financially with ongoing deficits and we have had trouble serving all of our clients. (Add in details of hardship that the budget impasse has caused my organization and clientele such as reductions in staff, closures, capping of client load, etc.)  I am very concerned about the added impact to the state budget of a loss of billions of dollars if the AHCA passes Congress and is signed into law. Estimates are that Illinois could lose $3.1 Billion in 2019 alone! Medicaid funds a lot of services that my clients and community depend on including services for early childhood, children with disabilities, older adult caregivers, mental health and substance abuse and supportive housing for people who are homeless. Many people do not know how much Medicaid pays for in our lives. Caring for the most vulnerable in our state is our civic responsibility. If Congress cuts billions out of the Medicaid budget, Illinois will be devastated. I am not sure that Illinois can even weather that storm on top of a current several billion dollar state funding deficit. I implore my Representatives to stop the AHCA and not cut Medicaid funding to Illinois to save our citizens and communities.

Sample LTE for a Medical Professional

Dear Editor

 

My name is (name) and I am a (doctor, nurse, social worker, psychologist, etc.). I work at (hospital, FQHC, mental health center, nursing home, etc.) I have been taking care of patients with (chronic conditions, cancer, diabetes, mental health, dementia, etc.) for (number) of years. Many of my patients were uninsured before the Affordable Care Act and many of them could not afford insurance or could not even get insured because of pre-existing conditions. Many of my patients had untreated conditions such as (name condition) and by the time they came to see me their health had deteriorated. If they could have afforded insurance, they could have been treated sooner and prevented more serious consequences. (Include an individual patient story here if you can). Many of my patients were not eligible for Medicaid before the ACA because even though they were low income they were not qualified for Medicaid. Since the passage of the ACA, many of my patients have enrolled in Medicaid or can now afford insurance that will cover all of their health conditions even if they were pre-existing ones. I am very concerned as a health care professional that my patients and the public health of the community will deteriorate if the AHCA passes Congress and is signed into law. The Congressional Budget Office has said that over 24 million people will lose coverage. These are my patients and I care about them. I am asking my legislators and representatives to listen to health care professionals like me on the front lines of care who are all in agreement: do not take away the protections in the ACA for people with pre-existing conditions and do not cut the Medicaid program. The ACA has been a lifeline to my patients and to the people of Illinois.

 

Sample LTE for a Faith Leader
Dear Editor

 

My name is (name) and I am a (rabbi, priest, pastor, reverend, etc.) in (name of town/community). My congregation/parish/members are a diverse community of people from all walks of life. We support each other spiritually in sickness and in health. My congregation comes together when one of our members is in need to help the sick, the poor, and the elderly. We have projects volunteering in the community to (bring food to ill members, healing, comfort the grieving, etc.) and no family is immune to times of illness and need. We believe it is our religious and civic duty to care for our community and that access to health care is important for everyone no matter what your political belief. We are very concerned that the AHCA if passed by Congress will hurt our congregation and community. Many of our members will no longer be able to afford or get health care coverage and will suffer financially, emotionally and physically. We are asking our legislators and representatives to consider the health care of our communities and not cut Medicaid and protections for people with pre-existing conditions. We must care for one another and not abandon our neighbors.

 

 

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