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News & Press: Legislative Updates

July 13, 2017 - Call to Action on Senate Health Bill

Wednesday, July 12, 2017   (0 Comments)
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Attention Wisconsin pediatricians and colleagues:


Wisconsin is one of 13 states with senators whose votes could decide the difference between the passing or failing of the BCRA (Better Care Reconciliation Act).

 

It was announced yesterday that the Senate will delay its next recess until August 14, which gives the bill's supporters more time to modify the bill in attempt to bridge gaps between moderate and conservatives. This delay resuscitates the BCRA's potential passage. 

 

Our advocacy is pressing. We are calling on you and your colleagues who care for children to call our senators' and governor's offices tomorrow, July 13, 2017 to express your concerns.If you have called in the past, please call again. If you tweeted, wrote an op-ed or posted a video, please add your voice once more and encourage others to do the same.


What to do tomorrow, July 13th:

 

  1. Call, call, call. The most effective way to do so at this point in the process is with phone calls. The net effect is for Senators to get the message that their constituents feel strongly about protecting Medicaid. Instructions below.
  2. Share your story. Use social media to share why Medicaid matters to you and your patients. Write a blog or op-ed about your experience and call out your senators. Personal stories bring the issue to life more than facts and figures.
  3. Report back on what you did. Let us know what actions you took and what if any feedback you received from your senators so we can tally our total activity and make sure we’re maximizing our impact in the Senate. Simply email kids1st@aap.org with your name, state and what you did/heard!

 

What we'll cover below:

 

  • How to call your Senators and what to say
  • How to call Governor Walker and what to say
  • Wisconsin-specific data
  • Twitter
  • Video template
  • Blog template

 


How to call your Senators and what to say:

 

Every call is counted, and tomorrow will be a pivotal day to make your concerns heard. You can also leave a voicemail after hours if you are unable to call during the day. We have included talking points to guide your call. We are looking to flood the phone lines of our Wisconsin Senators:

 

Senator Tammy BaldwinWashington Office - 202.224.5653

 

  • Eau Claire - 715.832.8424
  • Green Bay - 920.498.2668
  • La Crosse - 608.796.0045
  • Madison Office - 608.264.5338
  • Milwaukee Office - 414.297.4451
  • Wausau Office - 715.261.2611

 

Senator Baldwin is opposed to the BCRA, but your call will be logged for the record, so calling her office is still a valuable tactic.

 

 

Senator Ron JohnsonWashington Office - 202.224.5323

 

  • Milwaukee Office - 414.276.7282
  • Oshkosh Office  920.230.7250

 

Senator Johnson has spoken out against the speed at which the Republicans are moving to advance the bill. 

                  
Start with their DC offices and if you can’t get through, try the district offices closest to where you live. Say the following when you call:

 

  • Hello. I am pediatrician from Wisconsin and a member of the American Academy of Pediatrics.

  • Thank you for opposing the Better Care Reconciliation Act. I urge you to continue to oppose the bill.

 

  • In Wisconsin, more than 540,000 children rely on Medicaid for health insurance. The funding cuts proposed by the BCRA would be devastating to these children. 

 

  • Currently, 45% of all federal funds received by Wisconsin is for Medicaid. If this funding is cut, our state may be forced to chip away at health care coverage in many other ways, pitting one vulnerable population against the next.

 

  • Insert brief anecdote if you have one of a patient on Medicaid who would be impacted.

 

  • Children's hospitals would also suffer from Medicaid cuts, which affects all patients, not just those on Medicaid.
     
  • Today, 96% of children in Wisconsin have health insurance; this bill would reverse that progress.
  • Please protect children’s health care coverage and continue to oppose the Better Care Reconciliation Act.

How to call Governor Walker and what to say:

 

Governor Scott WalkerMadison Office - 608.266.1212

 

Governor Walker opposes the BCRA in its current form. The AP reported on June 23 that Governor Walker supports Senator Johnson's opposition to the BCRA "at this point."

 

Say the following when you call:

 

  • Hello. I am pediatrician from Wisconsin and a member of the American Academy of Pediatrics.

  • I want to thank you for your continued opposition to the Better Care Reconciliation Act. hank you for opposing the Better Care Reconciliation Act.

 

  • In Wisconsin, more than 540,000 children rely on Medicaid for health insurance. The funding cuts proposed by the BCRA would be devastating to these children. 

 

  • Currently, 45% of all federal funds received by Wisconsin is for Medicaid. If this funding is cut, our state may be forced to chip away at health care coverage in many other ways, pitting one vulnerable population against the next.

 

  • Insert brief anecdote if you have one of a patient on Medicaid who would be impacted.

 

  • Children's hospitals would also suffer from Medicaid cuts, which affects all patients, not just those on Medicaid.
     
  • Today, 96% of children in Wisconsin have health insurance; this bill would reverse that progress.

 

  • Please continue to urge Senators Baldwin and Johnson to oppose the Better Care Reconciliation Act.

Wisconsin-specific data:

 

  • Wisconsin children’s coverage fact sheet

  • New brief: State-by-State Coverage and Government Spending Implications of the Better Care Reconciliation Act

     

  1. In Wisconsin, how much higher would the uninsured rate be under the Senate bill (BCRA) than under the ACA in 2022? 73% (source http://www.urban.org/sites/default/files/one_percent_change_bcra-final.pdf)

  2. In Wisconsin, how much lower would federal health care spending be under the Senate bill (BCRA) than under the ACA in 2022? 22.4% (source: http://www.urban.org/sites/default/files/two_bcra_fed_spend-final.pdf)

 

  • The Georgetown Center for Children and Families Rural Health Report and state data on child health coverage in small towns and rural areas (including county level data)

  • new report from the Commonwealth Fund shows the state-by-state economic and employment consequences for states

  • Data from the Center for American Progress on the net loss in health insurance coverage in 2026 under the BCRA

     

Pediatrician advocacy and news coverage examples:

 


What more can you do?


Invite your friends and colleagues


Email your friends and colleagues and ask them to call our Senators on tomorrow's Day of Action. Feel free to copy the instructions above and send them along. You can share this information by email, LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and other channels from our web site.

 


Speak out on social media: #DontCapMyCare and #KeepKidsCovered


Check the Chapter's Twitter feed @WIAAP to like and retweet messages throughout the day. Consider sharing messages, especially on June 22nd, on social media to urge the Senate to keep Medicaid strong. Below are some sample messages and ways to look up your Senators on Twitter to mention them specifically.

 

Start your tweet with .@ if you are beginning your tweet with the Senator's Twitter handle.


The main hashtag AAP and our partners are using for this effort is #DontCapMyCare, and #KeepKidsCovered is another hashtag to incorporate into messages.

 

AAP Handles to follow:

 


Sample Messages:

 

.@SenatorBaldwin #Medicaid gives WI kids a better chance for a healthy future. #DontCapMyCare


.@SenRonJohnson I’m a pediatrician & my patients have one message: #DontCapMyCare. Keep #Medicaid strong and #KeepKidsCovered!


Medicaid matters for children. .@SenRonJohnson #DontCapMyCare. Protect #Medicaid in your health care bill.


You can also retweet the #KeepKidsCovered test:


.@SenatorBaldwin Does the #healthcare bill pass the #KeepKidsCovered Test? https://twitter.com/AmerAcadPeds/status/874280467914264576


.@SenRonJohnson I am a pediatrician in WI. Does the #healthcare bill pass the #KeepKidsCovered Test? https://twitter.com/AmerAcadPeds/status/874280467914264576

 

 

Report back to the AAP on your efforts

 

Please email kids1st@aap.org with any op-ed you write for help editing and pitching the piece. 

 

 

Post a #DontCapMyCare video on social media, or broadcast a brief Facebook Live

 

Intro:


My name is {your name} and I am pediatrician from Wisconsin. I am calling on our US Senators, Tammy Baldwin and Ron Johnson, to oppose any funding cuts or caps to Medicaid in the Senate health care bill.


Mention one or two talking points:


  • Medicaid covers children from low-income families and children with special health care needs. It’s a lifeline program for 492,000 children in our state. 
  • I am deeply concerned with any proposal to cut or cap federal funding for Medicaid in any way. Doing so would leave children worse off. 
  • Insert brief anecdote if you have one of a patient on Medicaid who would be impacted.

 

Conclusion:


Please Keep Kids Covered and oppose any funding cuts or caps to Medicaid in any health care bill you consider.


Sample Tweets with video:

 

 

Write a blog or op-ed about protecting Medicaid from caps or cuts

 

Using the below messages as a guide, consider writing a personal story about how capping Medicaid funding would impact your patients by writing a blog or op-ed in a local or national media outlet. Aim to publish the piece by June 30th. Below are recent op-eds written by pediatricians as well as fact sheets and a new report on how Medicaid improves coverage for children in rural communities. Please email kids1st@aap.org with any op-ed you write for help editing and pitching the piece.


Sample Text


As a pediatrician in {your city/town}, I know first-hand the importance of ensuring children have access to affordable, comprehensive health care coverage. Today, I am using my voice to urge Senators Tammy Baldwin and Ron Johnson not to cap or cut Medicaid funding in their healthcare bill.


As we speak, the Senate is preparing to vote on a bill that includes unprecedented cuts to Medicaid, a leading source of health care coverage for 37 million children nationwide and 540,000 here in Wisconsin. This bill has been crafted in secret, with no public hearings, and no opportunity for our elected officials to hear from those of us whose lives will be directly impacted by the health care legislation they are proposing. Our children deserve far better.

 

Right now, the coverage rate among children in our state is 96%. Medicaid is a significant reason for this progress, and the bill currently up for a vote in the Senate would reverse these gains and leave children and families worse off. 

 

Any proposals that would lead to cuts to eligibility in the Medicaid program would mean less coverage for those who need it most, children with special health care needs and low-income families. In Wisconsin, 43% of of children with disabilities or other special health care needs like juvenile diabetes and congenital heart conditions are covered by Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). These children depend on Medicaid, and the Senate’s proposal to cap its funding would jeopardize their access to critical services they need to thrive. 


{Insert personal anecdotes or patient stories about how Medicaid works for children in your state}

Medicaid works, plain and simple. Its federal-state partnership model gives states flexibility in covering the needs of our patients, its benefits are designed with children’s unique needs in mind to cover essential screenings and services, and its affordability has allowed millions of families to turn to it for coverage without compromising their ability to make ends meet. 

Capping Medicaid funding is not the way forward. Capping Medicaid means our state would be responsible for any dollar amount over the fixed cap provided by the federal government to cover Wisconsin patients. Capping Medicaid does not account for unexpected public health crises like the opioid epidemic. Capping Medicaid would force states to make devastating cuts in order to stay afloat financially – scaling back the benefits our children need, cutting people from the program, or otherwise making it no longer meet the needs of the population it’s intended to serve. This is not the answer for Wisconsin and it is not the answer for our children. 

Medicaid is an entitlement program, but it’s also an empowerment program. Medicaid allows families to hold down jobs while caring for ill children. It allows pregnant women to access vital services to ensure she and her baby stay healthy, and it provides critical supports for people with disabilities so they can live independently.


I urge Senators Tammy Baldwin and Ron Johnson to protect Medicaid by opposing the Senate bill, and in so doing, protect Wisconsin's children.