It’s still warm and sunny now, but fall is coming. The days are getting shorter, kids are headed back to school. And, members of Congress will be right behind them, headed back to work after the Labor Day weekend. They are returning to a very long to-do list. The decisions Congress will make on the Fiscal Year 2018 budget resolution, FY18 appropriations, the debt ceiling, tax legislation, health care reform, CHIP, and MIECHV will have sweeping implications for communities and families around the country and right here in Ohio.
Among the first things that will be on Congress’ plate when they return are the budget resolution and healthcare. The public overwhelmingly rejected proposals to end Medicaid as we know it and take coverage away from millions of people who gained health insurance as a result of the ACA. It’s unclear how Congress will respond—whether they will proceed with bipartisan efforts to stabilize the ACA marketplace or try another ACA repeal. Meanwhile, the budget resolution will set the stage for many of the important fights to come, including tax legislation and changes to entitlement programs like SNAP and Medicaid.
So, where do we go from here? First, we need to build our case for how Congress should move forward on healthcare: reject efforts to put Medicaid cuts and repeal and replace legislation back on the table, and instead pursue bipartisan solutions to strengthen the individual market for health insurance and combat any ACA sabotage attempts by the administration.
Second, we need to urge our Congressional members to oppose the House budget resolution and, instead, work to build a bipartisan budget that invests in our kids and families. The current House budget calls for trillions of dollars in cuts to our economy and programs that help Americans afford the basics, such as health care for children, seniors, people with disabilities; aid that helps students afford college; and food assistance that keeps millions of kids from going hungry. Rather than cutting programs, Congress could make smart investments in education, job training, and child care. We know from research into Ohio’s Medicaid expansion that supportive programs help vulnerable families stabilize their employment, housing, and overall financial situation—which helps all of us by growing the tax base and strengthening the workforce. Investing in people works.
So, what can you do? If you have the capacity to engage on these issues in the next few weeks, we recommend choosing among the following activities:
Attend events with members of Congress (such as town hall meetings and state fairs) and ask questions about the programs coming up for votes in September.
Write about the impact of these federal proposals on Ohio and in your community. You could write blog posts, social media posts, policy reports, press statements, etc. When sharing content on social media, you can tag your member of Congress with their Twitter handles.
Schedule in-district meetings with your members of Congress. It’s not too late to get those requests in! And if the member is unavailable for a meeting, you can ask for a video conference with them or to meet with a high-level staffer such as the legislative director or legislative assistant who handles these issues.
Do earned media outreach such as submitting op-eds and letters to the editor. We are happy to help you with talking points and the actual submission!