Action Therapy – Places to Go to Find Things to Do

The familiar refrain is often, “What can I do?” often accompanied by some hand wringing about the state of our democracy. For starters, here are some remarkable resources.

Just remember: You can’t do everything. But you can do something. Put a stake in the ground and get to work:

Americans of Conscience Checklist

The AoC Checklist features clear, well-researched actions for Americans who value democracy, equality, voting, and respect. To stay engaged through challenging times, we practice gratitude, self-care, and celebration.

5 Calls

5 Calls is the easiest and most effective way for citizens to make an impact in national and local politics

Small Deeds Done (are better than great deeds planned)

So let’s break the work down! Let’s make it manageable. Small actions are not insignificant. A grand master plan means nothing unless someone (like you) takes the small steps that need to happen to make it a reality.

And that’s what Small Deeds is all about. It’s about each of us taking regular, small steps – that together lead to massive, crushing, world-bending change.

Speak Up to Support Medical Care for Vulnerable Americans

Ask Your Senators to Oppose Efforts to Restrict Medicaid.

Recently an increasing number of states are requesting permission to impose restrictions on Medicaid by instituting lifetime caps on Medicaid benefits or requiring work requirements to remain on Medicaid rolls.  A recent Vox article reports that a poll by the Kaiser Foundation finds that 41% of respondents believed that work requirements are aimed at cutting spending on Medicaid, and 33% believe the requirements are for lifting people out of poverty as Republicans claim.  These restrictions are being imposed despite fact that the Medicaid program remains popular among respondents (40% reporting very favorable and 34% somewhat favorable views of Medicaid).

From Jen Hofmann’s “Americans of Conscience Action Checklist” comes the following suggestion.  This script could also be used to call or to e-mail your senators.  Urge friends and family in red states to do the same.

Action: Stand with people in need of medical care.

Call: The local offices of your 2 senators and 1 House rep (look up).

Script: Hi. I’m from [ZIP] and concerned about allowing states to impose lifetime caps on Medicaid coverage. I don’t understand why congressional Republicans are shredding the social safety net. I want my taxes to provide medical care to my vulnerable neighbors. I oppose Medicaid work-for-service and lifetime caps. Tell me, how is [name] protecting our own citizens’ medical needs?

Bonus: If you’re in AZ, KS, UT, ME, and WI (lifetime limits) or in AZ, AK, ID, KS, KY, ME, MI, NC, OH, UT, and HI (work requirements), call your 2 state legislators to oppose this (look up).

 

IL Senator Dick Durban: call  202-224-2152  or e-mail 

IL Senator Tammy Duckworth: call  202-224-2854 or e-mail

 

Write to Support Medicaid in Illnois

From Jen Hofmann’s action items for this week

Action: Stand with Americans who are poor, disabled, and/or unable to work.

 

Find: Your state Medicaid director’s address (look up, scroll down for address).

Write: Dear [Name], I am deeply concerned about the CMS letter on 1/12/18 allowing states to deny medical care to vulnerable citizens. With a majority of Medicaid enrollees already working, in school, or medically unable to work, compliance enforcement is an unnecessary waste of taxpayer money. We must take care of our neighbors in need. This new policy penalizes people living in poverty and with disabilities, cutting them off from a powerful poverty-reducing program. I entreat you to continue providing Medicaid to all [Staters] who need it. Thank you for your consideration. Name, town.

 

Time to Pick Up the Phones Again!

Call Members of Congress to Vote NO on the Tax Bill.

The House of Representatives thinks it may have enough votes to pass their version of the tax bill, but some Republican Senators have expressed doubts about voting in favor of the Senate version of the bill.  The Senate version includes language to drop the individual mandate (requiring everyone to have health insurance or face a tax penalty) of the Affordable Care Act which will devastate the marketplace.

Please call your Senators to vote no, but even more importantly, call on these wavering Senators listed below to vote NO the tax bill because of it’s negative effects on the middle class, on the deficit and especially, on health insurance rates for the nation.  Find your member of Congress here if you are not in IL.

Local Members of Congress:

Senator Dick Durbin (IL) – 202-224-2152

Senator Tammy Duckworth (IL) – 202-224-2854

Possible NO votes:

Senator John McCain (Arizona) – 202-224-2235

Senator Bob Corker (Tennessee) – 202-224-3344

Senator Susan Collins (Maine) – 202-224-2523

Senator Lisa Murkowski (Alaska) – 202-224-6665

Continue to Publicize ACA Enrollment – Reach Out Beyond Social Media

Here are Flyers to Post.

Not everyone is reachable through social media.  It’s important to invest the extra bit of effort to publicize in other venues.  Here is a link to downloadable flyers in Spanish and English (make sure you choose the one for Illinois or your appropriate state – pdf format also available) that you can print and post to bulletin boards at libraries, community centers, coffee shops, local food and convenience markets and any other place you may know.  Always ask for permission to post the flyers please!

ACA Open Enrollment Toolkit

ACA Open Enrollment Toolkit

This Affordable Care Act Open Enrollment toolkit provides proven strategies and templates for use in outreach to media and your community in order to raise awareness about Open Enrollment and drive traffic to HealthCare.gov, assisters, navigators, and brokers, and community enrollment events.

Here is everything you need. Just add your energy.

Help Save the ACA

Take action this weekend and submit your story for the Graham-Cassidy Hearing on Monday, September 25th.

Jen Hoffman’s action item for this weekend

Action: Submit public testimony for Monday’s Graham-Cassidy hearing.

Email: GCHcomments@finance.senate.gov by 1pm EST/10am PST Monday 9/25.

Script: I/my family rely/relies on quality, affordable healthcare. Because of this, I oppose the Graham-Cassidy bill. My story with [Medicaid, pre-existing conditions, disabilities, affordability, etc.] is… I would like to see a bipartisan Congressional effort to improve the ACA, not repeal it.

Sincerely, [name]

[town, state]

It’s An All Hands-On-Deck Time to Fight the Graham-Cassidy Bill

Make Calls, Write Emails to Crucial Republican Senators

Multiple news organization are reporting that the Senate Republicans may be one vote away from being able to pass the Graham-Cassidy bill and now is the time we need to double-down on calling Senators not only from our own state, but from crucial Republican states (see list below).

I am someone who is not comfortable making calls to strangers, especially senators in Washington.  I am also someone who has just spent 5-10 minutes making those calls, and it turned out to be not difficult at all.  I wrote down my own script to read when I made the calls – that felt easier and more natural than a script suggested on a website.  However, many people may prefer to use a script from a website (see an example below).  It’s best to do what feels most comfortable for you.  On most of the calls I made I left a message on voicemail, on a couple I spoke to a person, and on a few I wrote an email because the mailbox was full or the line was busy.

The script I wrote for myself was:

I would like to urge Senator ______ to vote no on the Graham-Cassidy bill.  Please don’t use the health of the American people to score political points.  This issue is too important for that.  Take time to carefully research ways to improve access to affordable health care and don’t rush a terrible bill through for political purposes.  Thank you.

A script from Jen Hoffman’s Weekly Activism Checklist:

Script: Hi. I’m from [ZIP] and I’m calling to express my opposition to the Cassidy-Graham plan to repeal the ACA. Congress needs to improve the Affordable Care Act, not repeal it and leave millions of people without options. Thanks.

 

More Threats to The Affordable Care Act.

It’s Time to Pick Up Your Phone and Make Some Calls!

Senators Lindsey Graham, Bill Cassidy, Dean Heller and Ron Johnson introduced the latest ACA repeal bill last week.  It would give states block grants instead of the tax credits, Medicaid expansion and cost-sharing payments that the ACA requires.  Protect Our Care IL in their Sept. 15 Weekly Digest, reports that it threatens over $1.4 billion in cuts to Medicaid in Illinois while raising premiums and cutting coverage for millions.

Even though  Politico previously gave this bill a low chance to succeed, the President and leading members of the party have been lobbying Republican Senators to support it. The most recent reports show that these efforts are swaying increasing numbers of Senators!  This is combined with continuing Administration threats to withhold the cost-sharing payments that stabilize the ACA individual plan marketplace and the resulting uncertainty is making insurers extremely nervous.

Premiums in Illinois are already projected to increase dramatically because of this uncertainty.  Below is a script to oppose the Graham-Cassidy bill.  I would also ask your Senators and Gov. Rauner to demand that cost-sharing payments be guaranteed.  The Republicans should not be playing politics with our health!

From Jen Hoffman’s Weekly Activism Checklist:

Action: Oppose the Graham-Cassidy plan to repeal the ACA.

Call: Your 2 senators (lookup).

Script: Hi. I’m from [ZIP] and I’m calling to express my opposition to the Cassidy-Graham plan to repeal the ACA. Congress needs to improve the Affordable Care Act, not repeal it and leave millions of people without options. Thanks.

(Senator Duckworth – 202-224-2854)

(Senator Durbin – 202-224-2152)

(Gov. Rauner – 217-782-0244)

 

From Protect Our Care – Take Action Against Cuts to ACA Outreach Funds

POCIL Email Template Header JPEG

Take action against Trump’s cuts to funding for ACA outreach

Open Enrollment navIn their latest attempt to sabotage the ACA, the Trump administration announced late last week they would be slashing funding for navigators and advertising for the upcoming open enrollment in the Marketplace by over $100 million nationwide.

This decision will reverberate throughout Illinois and cannot stand. Call your Members of Congress at (866) 877-3303 and urge them to oppose this sabotage and support bipartisan solutions that will strengthen our health care system.

Navigators in Illinois provide the on-the-ground support necessary for people to easily access health care and overcome barriers to enrollment (including language and cultural differences, disabilities, etc.) Without this assistance, millions of people who may not understand their health care options will remain uninsured, go without necessary care, and be penalized for not having coverage.

Advertising the Marketplace is crucial for a functioning and successful exchange. Without advertising, we will miss out on healthy participants who don’t know about the exchange or who don’t know that the enrollment period is shortened this year.

“The surest way to kill the exchanges is to keep them a secret,” says Timothy Jost, a consumer advocate at the National Association of Insurance Commissioners. “Sick people will find them, but getting younger and healthier people enrolled is the problem.”

Take Action Now! 

  1. Read the Protect Our Care Illinois statement on this cynical attack on millions of health insurance consumers.
  2. Call the Protect Our Care Illinois Hotline (866) 877-3303 and tell your Members of Congress to publicly denounce the Trump administration’s decision to slash funds for advertising for the Marketplace and navigator funding. Tell them to support bipartisan efforts underway to stabilize the Marketplace AND to fund robust outreach and enrollment efforts.
  3. Call Gov. Rauner at (312) 814-2121 or (217) 782-0244 and tell him to publicly denounce this decision by the Trump administration to slash the advertising budget and navigator funding. Tell him that assisters in Illinois communities have played a key role over the past 4 years in reducing the number of uninsured in Illinois to an all time low. Ask him what his Department of Insurance will do to help ensure that Illinois consumers know about open enrollment and their choices for enrollment.

Thank you for your continued activism and advocacy on behalf of Illinois health care consumers!