After weeks of secrecy, a draft of the GOP health care bill has been released to the public. Dubbed the Better Care Reconciliation Act of 2017 (BCRA), it includes language to end penalties for people who opt out of insurance, make drastic cuts to Medicaid funding, and withdraw federal funding from Planned Parenthood. If you're among those concerned about how it would affect your insurance, it's time to call your senator about the Senate health care bill and demand that they fight for affordable health care.
Since the mandates set out in the Better Care Reconciliation Bill pose serious threats to the many Americans terrified of losing Medicaid benefits, access to affordable reproductive health care services, and cancer screenings, it's crucial that we call our senators and make our voices heard.
The steps are simple, and fighting tooth and nail for fair, affordable health care is more than important, it's essential. Plus, it's undeniable that when there's more of us making our voices heard, it is infinitely harder for our representatives to erase and ignore our concerns.
If you haven't yet picked up a phone this year to call your elected officials, there's no need to feel intimidated. The process is straightforward, and you're not alone in your feelings.
If you're not sure where to begin, or even who your senator is, you can use the convenient online Senate directory list. All you have to do is select your state, and you'll be directed to the contact information, which generally includes the websites and phone numbers, of your two select senators. Once you have the contact information, I recommend saving it in your phone. That way, you'll have a shortcut the next time you want to voice a concern.
When you call, you'll likely speak with an intern or staffer who will record your concerns. All you have to do is let them know that you're a constituent, and then voice your opinion. If you're nervous, or unsure of how to word your concerns about the health care bill, there are handy scripts available on the internet. Here is one that works especially well:
Hello, my name is _______. I am a constituent of Sen. _________, and I am calling to ask them to vote against the repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act with the newest draft of the Better Care Conciliation Act. I want to relay a clear message to them that it's critical that the provisions and benefits of the Affordable Care Act remain in place. Since its passage, 20 million Americans have gained health care coverage, and our country is enjoying a record low uninsured rate.
If you live in a state with senators who are already fighting to keep your health care in tact, calling to thank them is still as important, lest they become complacent. Either way, when it's your health care at stake here, calling your senator could be the most effective thing to do, at least for now.