August 25, 2009
The fight for meaningful health care reform has heated up during the August recess. Members of Congress are back home for the month and speaking with their constituents about reform legislation. Opposition to real health reform has mounted a fierce campaign based on misinformation and outright lies while appealing to people's fears. Meanwhile, there is concern that the public option -- a crucial element to health care reform for people with HIV/AIDS and other chronic conditions -- is in danger of not being included in the Senate bill.
This battle has become tough because we are so close to getting badly needed expansion of health care to those who need it. But, to win, we need to counter the massive phone calls and emails that Members of Congress are receiving from those opposed to real reform. We know that the majority of Americans support meaningful health care reform. Congress needs to hear from us now!
How you can help:
The next two weeks are crucial. Members of Congress will be finishing their August recess and will certainly still be hearing from those opposed to health care reform. Here are some simple ways you can make sure your elected representatives hear your voice:
1. Call the district office of your U.S. Representative and two U.S. Senators and say the following to whoever answers the phone:
"My name is _______ and I'm calling from (city/state). I want to urge Senator/Representative to make passage of meaningful health care reform that includes a public plan option your top priority. I know too many people who struggle to receive the health care they need to address HIV/AIDS, cancer, hepatitis, diabetes, and other chronic conditions. Our nation can and must do better to improve the health of its people. Please act now."
2. Write a letter to the editor of your local newspaper showing your support for swift passage of meaningful health care reform legislation. You can use the sample letter below. Letters should be brief (around 250 words) and make the point clearly and concisely. You can find out how to submit a letter to the editor on your newspaper's website. If you need any help trying to have a letter printed, contact firstname.lastname@example.org and someone will help.
As someone concerned about the HIV epidemic in the United States, I strongly support swift passage of meaningful health care reform legislation. True reform of our broken health care system could rapidly accelerate efforts to finally get ahead of this costly and tragic epidemic that has claimed more than half a million Americans since 1981. Of the estimated 1.1 million people in the U.S. living with HIV/AIDS, as many as 500,000 lack access to the health care services they need. Providing early and reliable access to health insurance is critical for people with HIV to remain healthy and prevent further HIV transmission.
ENTER 1-2 sentences about why health care reform is important to you.
Congress must pass health care reform legislation this year that meets the needs of people with HIV and other health conditions such as cancer, diabetes, hepatitis, and asthma. This means having a public option for those who want it and expansion of Medicaid for low-income people. Any bill that meets the needs of those living with life-threatening and chronic conditions will meet the needs of any American.
It is time for Congress to fix our health care system. We can no longer allow over 45 million Americans to be uninsured.
For more information:
Go to www.taepusa.org for background information and analyses of various health care reform proposals and the impact on people with HIV/AIDS.
The HIV Health Care Access Working Group is a coalition of 84 national and community-based AIDS service organizations representing HIV medical providers, advocates and people living with HIV/AIDS and providing critical HIV-related health care and support services. For more information, contact co-chairs Laura Hanen, of the National Alliance of State and Territorial AIDS Directors, at 202.434.8091, or Robert Greenwald, of the Treatment Access Expansion Project, at 617.390.2584.