Action Step Resources
KEY ACTION STEPS
Contact Your Members of Congress
Send emails and letters to your representative Members of Congress
Contact the White House
- Telephone: 202-456-1414(switchboard); 202-456-1111 (comment line)
- Mail: The White House, 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., Washington, DC 20500
Attend a town hall meeting if possible
Go to FreedomWorks.org and use its GoogleMaps feature to find a schedule of town hall meetings. See below for more resources.
Educate your neighbors and peers with letters to the editor (see below)
Key Talking Points
- While health-care financing and delivery systems in the United States suffer from significant flaws impacting cost and access which have accumulated over the years, the entire system is not broken. Reform legislation should focus on addressing specific issues; not on replacing or overhauling the entire health-care system at one time.
- While attention is rightly paid to the socio-economic aspects of the crisis in health care and delivery, it is essential to acknowledge and respect the fundamental ethical principles at stake. Above all, it is necessary at this time to ensure that any national health-care reform legislation provides respect for human life (e.g., by not funding or mandating abortion as a “health-care benefit”) and respect for the conscience rights of health-care professionals (e.g., providing nothing less than the current protections in federal and state law—and preferably more).
- Health-care reform legislation must respect the integrity of the physician-patient relationship. This means that people should be free to choose physicians and health insurance coverage which accord with their values and needs. This also means that physicians must not be prevented—by the force of government regulations—from respecting their patients’ privacy or from offering the attention and treatments patients require based on the physician’s professional judgment.
- Other: Any health care reform legislation must be carefully monitored to ensure that interest groups do not take the opportunity afforded by comprehensive legislation to insert provisions that harm the dignity of individuals or the family or that inappropriately serve the agenda of a particular group or ideology.
Tips on Writing Letters to the Editor
- Keep it short – anywhere from 150-250 words – and get to your point quickly.
- Focus on one or two main points
- Make it personal – describe how legislation or regulation affects you or your patients personally. Show why it will affect people in your local community.
- Reference an issue or article if you are commenting on it. Be sure to cite that in your response if you responding to an article.
- Suggest some type of actionable item for readers.
- Click the following links to see a sample physician letter and citizen letter which can be sent to an elected representative or to an editor.
Action Strategy for Town Hall Meetings (based on stoptheabortionmandate.com tool kit)
- Be Prepared. Prepare a well-researched, well-rehearsed pitch with thoughtful arguments, good data, and persuasive stories.
- Tell a Personal Story. Think in advance of how a policy might affect you, your family, your business, or your community.
- Use Numbers If You Have Them. Nearly every person to come before a Member of Congress represents more constituents either by a class or as a spokesperson. Use numbers like this if applicable: “I have 50 employees,” “I represent 100 people in my union,” “There are 500 people in my community that think just like me.”
- Be Respectful. Starting any conversation with another person in a rude manner is no way to persuade them.
- Go in Groups. Nothing says “listen to me” to a public official like a group of people.
- Talk to Staff. Every congressman brings staff to town hall meetings. They may seem to blend into the woodwork, but a sharp citizen seeks them out. Talk to them before the meeting, get their business card, and tell them your story (as well as asking a public question at the meeting).
- Leave Paper. If you leave background memos or talking points, they’ll likely be faxed to Washington to the legislative assistant who covers your issue.
- Follow-up Politely. Politely persistent people persuade politicians. Follow up with a phone call after attending a town hall meeting.
- Get People to Multiple Meetings. This is a sure bet to get noticed. Hearing the same thing in different places signals to a politician there may be a deeper problem afoot.
- Demonstrate You're Not Going Away. If you continue to show your presence at town hall meetings, the legislator must deal with you…if only to avoid an uncomfortable encounter at a future town hall meeting.