Communications Tips: Messaging Before SCOTUS Decision
The critical job of every organization working on health care, before the Supreme Court issues its opinion in June, is to tell the story of real people and what they stand to lose if conservatives have their way. Using real examples, we can put a human face on the losses that will occur if the opponents have their way and make these losses real and personal.
Start with the good news – what Obamacare does for people. Tell stories with pre-existing conditions (most powerful) and demonstrate that “Republicans are siding with the insurance companies that don’t want to be required to cover people with pre-existing conditions.”
Those Who Stand To Lose:
1) All of us. Obamacare makes healthcare coverage more secure by ensuring that working families cannot be denied coverage due to a pre-existing condition, or lose their coverage when someone gets sick. Nearly 50,000 Americans who were denied coverage now have insurance because of Obamacare. If conservatives get their way and repeal the law, it means they will lose their insurance and insurance companies can go back to their practices of denying and dropping coverage.
2) Women. The new health care law makes healthcare more secure for women by ending denials due to pre-existing conditions and ensuring women can no longer be charged 150% of what men pay for coverage. Because of Obamacare, more than 20 million women have already received preventive care such as mammograms and pap smears without any out of pocket expenses. If opponents get their way, women will once again be charged more than men and will no longer receive crucial preventive care such as cancer screenings.
3) Seniors. Obamacare protects Medicare for seniors by cracking down on waste, fraud and abuse, providing free preventive care and making prescription drugs more affordable. Because of Obamacare, 5.1 million people on Medicare have saved more than $3.2 billion on prescription drugs. But, conservatives want to end these protections, eliminate measures that crack down on waste, fraud and abuse that have saved taxpayers billions and force seniors to pay more for their prescription drugs.
4) People with Cancer and other Health problems. Thanks to Obamacare, the more than 120 million Americans under 65 who have a “pre-existing condition” now have the peace of mind that they can no longer be denied coverage. But conservatives want to take away this coverage so insurance companies can go back to denying care to people with cancer, diabetes, heart disease or other pre-existing conditions.
5) Small Business. Small businesses are taking advantage of tax credits available under the law and soon small businesses will have the freedom to come together in a pool to get the same rates as big corporations. Instead of making health care more affordable for small businesses, conservatives want to take away their tax credits that help them afford coverage to their employees, and they’ll continue to have to pay higher rates than big corporations.
6) Young Adults. Young adults want jobs and a future. And thanks to Obamacare, 2.5 million young adults are now more secure because they were able to stay on their parents insurance. If conservatives have their way, 2.5 million young adults will once again be without health insurance.
SPEAKERS BUREAU FOR AFFORDABLE CARE ACT FORMED
Healthcare Reform Forum members are ready to speak at various community groups about the Affordable Care Act, specifically, highlighting the reasons for its passage. A basic presentation is about 35 minutes in length pointing out the moral issues which justify the need for a national healthcare law. Resources provided by a non-profit, non-partisan Faithful Reform in Health Care organization are the basis for this presentation. Contact Karen Metcalf to schedule a presentation for your group or friends.
LETTER WRITING CAMPAIGN
• The second anniversary of the signing of the Affordable Care Act is March 23.
• The Supreme Court hearings on the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act will take place the following week, March 26-28.
• PACG, along with over 60 other organizations, signed an amicus brief supporting the challenge to the expansion of Medicaid in the Affordable Care Act.
• The state of Illinois is considering cuts of over $2 billion from Medicaid funding.
• The Illinois legislature is working to establish the relative roles for consumers and insurance company representatives in the body that will govern the state-run insurance marketplace (“exchange”) set up under the Affordable Care Act.
• Over 2 million young people have been allowed to stay on their parents’ health care insurance because of the Affordable Care Act.
• Children age 18 and under can no longer be denied insurance coverage for pre-existing conditions.
• Lifetime caps on insurance coverage have been eliminated.
• A large array of no-cost or low-cost screenings is now covered by Medicare.
• Under the provisions of the Affordable Care Act, in 2014, up to 32 million uninsured people will have health insurance.
Health care equity and justice issues are still in the headlines. Have you or your family benefited from any of the changes already in place under the Affordable Care Act? What is at stake at the state or national level if progress is reversed and/or cuts are made? What core values are at stake?
The PACG Health Care Reform Forum wants YOU to weigh in on some aspect of these issues with a letter to the editor. We believe it is time for our local progressive community to speak out, in an organized way, to the Quad Cities, but we need your help. The campaign will work as follows:
1. Reach out to members of PACG as a group, starting with this e-mail.
2. Suggest ideas for letters (above).
3. Make telephone calls to a significant number of our members to persuade them to write a letter.
4. Provide, on request, information and factual resources for letter writers (and, if requested, editorial assistance) and update this information as needed.
5. Act as a central clearing house of letters written through this campaign.
6. Report back periodically on the progress of the campaign.
Supporters of PACG have strong opinions and principles. Even if you have never written a letter to the editor in the past, here is an opportunity to put the ACTION into your support of PACG. Click on the Resources tab at the PACG website and then on MAP for tips on writing effective letters to the editor. You don’t have to be an expert; you do have to believe that these issues matter.
For more information, please contact Karen Metcalf (firstname.lastname@example.org; 563-355-0093) or Phil Dennis (email@example.com; 309-788-7106).
Facilitator, Health Care Reform Forum
Progressive Actions for the Common Good
HEALTH CARE BRIEFS ON THE NEW LAW: WHAT’S IN IT FOR YOU? AND FOR OTHERS?
A Foundation on which to Build. The new Health Care Affordability Act is not perfect, but it is a foundation on which to build a more complete reform. For instance in the heat of the August 2009 congressional health care debate a rational provision to include and pay for consultations by patients and families with their doctors about treatment options and widely recommended “advance directives” for end of life care were included in the plan. Those opposed to reform promptly labeled such consultations as “death panels” even though they left the decisions up to the patients and families. In the furor and misstatements, the provision was dropped. With the new law in place we can now work to restore this provision and make other improvements (and corrections) based on experience, not partisan debate.
–from Faithful Reform in Health Care (www.faithfulreform.org)
These brief summaries of benefits in the new health care law were prepared by Progressive Action for the Common Good of the Quad Cities, based on research by Faithful Reform in Health Care which represents many churches and other faith communities. (See the list of members on their website.) Faithful Reform seeks to speak the “whole truth” about health care issues instead of the many half truths that abound. If you, or someone you know, has had a personal experience with this or another benefit of the new law, please share it with the Health Care Reform Forum of PACG (firstname.lastname@example.org).