Thank you for all your advocacy the last few weeks around the American Health Care Act, which would have capped Medicaid and cut critical protections around pre-existing conditions.  Unfortunately the House of Representatives has brought it back up for negotiation.  They could not reach consensus before the Easter/Passover recess.  They did add two provisions that allow states to would remove the list of required benefits covered and the community rating (which ensures people who use more healthcare keep reasonable premiums).  This ONLY MAKES THE BILL WORSE!

Below is a larger action alert around all the things you can do in the next two weeks to make sure Legislators feel the heat back in their districts in Illinois including calls, attending town halls, letters to the editor, forwarding information to your networks for #WeActWednesdays and more.  As of this morning, here are town halls, we especially want to attend.  Let me know if you can!

  • Randy Hultgren, the League of Women Voters event, April 18 from 7-8:30 pm, the Arcada Theatre, 105 E. Main St., St. Charles. Doors will open at 6:30 p.m.
  • John Shimkus, Carnegie Public Library, 6:00 PM on Wed Apr 19 2017 at 712 6th St, Charleston, IL 61920
  • There are also a number of events scheduled for Jan Schakowsky, Raja Krishnamoorthi, and Brad Schneider.
Congressional Recess — Are You Engaging Your Members of Congress at Home?
Congress will be in recess April 10 – 21. This means Members of Congress will be at home in their states/districts, and they need to hear from you. The failure of the House of Representatives to pass the American Health Care Act (AHCA) showed the incredible power of grassroots activism, but unfortunately, the threats remain. Critical programs to people with I/DD remain at risk in Washington – the Affordable Care Act (ACA), Medicaid, Supplemental Security Income, and civil rights protections.
Key members of the Majority in the House are considering new strategies to repeal the ACA. In addition, devastating changes to the Medicaid program that were included in the AHCA could resurface any time to pay for other initiatives or could be included with another ACA repeal effort. While the original AHCA bill failed because of substantial grassroots work, Members of Congress need to hear from you on a regular basis so that they continue to understand how important these issues are to people with I/DD and their families.
Here are some ideas to make the most of this recess:

  1. Share our Latest Action Alert with Your Networks. Take Action: Tell Congress to Protect Vital Programs. Share this widely to make sure your Senators and Representative hear this important message from their constituents.
  2. Invite your Member of Congress to see The Arc in action. A great way for Members of Congress to learn more about the supports and services needed for people with disabilities and their families is to meet people first hand. Do you know a family who would be willing to host a visit to their home or have an upcoming event that you could invite your Congressperson to? Here are tips for meeting with your Members.
  3. Attend Town Hall meetings: Showing up matters. Activists at town hall meetings helped the American Health Care Act lose a lot of momentum. Check out this resource listing all scheduled town hall meetings across the country (it is regularly updated). If your Senator(s) or Representative have any scheduled, please attend and bring your staff, volunteers, friends, and family. Make signs (How about “The ACA & Medicaid save lives” or “Medicaid = Community Living”) and wear orange to get noticed. If there is any media there, offer to share why you are attending and the importance of programs like Medicaid and SSI for people with disabilities.
  4. And while you are at it – Keep the Media Coverage Coming! Chapters of The Arc have been getting attention from their Members of Congress by getting local media coverage. Please contact your local press to let them know how critical the ACA and Medicaid are to people with I/DD and their families. See our blog piece for links to sample guest columns, letters to the editor, and key messages. Questions for engaging the media? Contact Sarah Bal, Director of Public Relations at 202-600-3494 with any questions or for assistance.
  5. Participate in our “#WeActWednesday” Social Media Campaign. Each Wednesday The Arc shares a quick way to take action on a current advocacy issue on our Facebook and Twitter. Please take action, share, like, and retweet every Wednesday! Feel free to reach out to Pam Katz, Digital Marketing Associate, at 202-534-3710 with questions about getting involved in #WeActWednesday or social media in general.

Would you like help brainstorming a way to engage your Members of Congress or are you willing to share stories, pictures and feedback from your recess activities? Please contact Claire Manning, Director of Advocacy and Mobilization at 202-534-3716.
Planning ahead? Here are the Senate and House schedules for the rest of year.

Meg Cooch Signature

Meg Cooch
Executive Director
The Arc of Illinois
20901 S. LaGrange Rd. Suite 209
Frankfort, IL 60423
815-464-1832 (OFFICE)