Congress is in recess (sigh) from February 18th-25th. This means your Representative will be "at home" for you to contact.
This is the perfect moment to find if they are holding Town Halls you may attend and to call or visit their local offices. The key issue before them on policy is still and always the fate of our health care system. We have actually heard - not making this up - that some clueless Representatives think they can pretend to be eradicating "Obamacare" while preserving the best of the "Affordable Care Act" in their fantasy replacement plan.
Call it what you will, the ACA has been a lifeline for millions and cannot be unraveled easily. Take away any of the pieces, the rest falls apart. What we need are improvements for the parts that work less well - pharmaceutical cost containment through bulk purchases of drugs; greater cost control on premiums even as subsidies keep pace. (That's just good stewardship of our health care spending.) We also need actual disbursement of billions from Congress to pay providers for care already offered so the system remains solvent and on an even keel. The failure to pay into the system for subsidies and reimbursements is simply obstructionism. No law has been passed, no budget items have changed, and this is just petty politics to make ACA appear to be insolvent when it is not.
With all these issues in mind, please let your voices be heard. We want to preserve and improve ACA this year. We don't want to repeal or replace!
You may remember from our early days of advocacy for a universal health plan that we and Faithful Reform in Health Care created four principles we want to see in any program or policy:
1. Inclusive. It must cover everyone.
2. Affordable. It must support the Common Good by offering comprehensive plans that are affordable for individuals, families, our society.
3. Accessible. Plans must be available and usable by everyone in every walk of life and every part of the nation.
4. Accountable. Our provision of care as well as our spending must be transparent and open to critique for improvement.
ACA is still a work in progress, especially in many states that did not set up a state option. But it was constructed with these four principles in mind, and we know that because we worked in national coalitions speaking directly to those crafting the plan and to those who would ultimately administer it. Our voices were heard then. They must be heard now! These four principles are essential to quality care, and we will not settle for less.
To contact your House Representative, please go to:
Call your district offices to find out about Town Halls or to set a visit during the week your Representative is in town. If you are directed to staff, that's fine. They can be great advocates for your views with their employer. Are your Representatives friendly to protecting ACA? Let them know you appreciate that and want them to stand firmly on protecting ACA. They need your voice and position so they can say to uncertain colleagues that they heard from XXX numbers of constituents. Every voice therefore counts no matter who your Representative may be.
Down the line, your congregation may want to host a community forum or town hall, and you are free to do so. This is educational information on democratic issues all within your rights as an organization of faith. You may arrange that through your Representative's district office, too.
In this upcoming week, take every opportunity to Save Our Health Care through your actions. It's a great opportunity to be heard. Please seize the moment!