Congress’ May 24 vote to rescind the 21% Medicare pay cut for six months illustrates how important it is for rheumatology professionals and patients to be involved in the legislative process. It was the thousands of calls, e-mails, and letters from medical professionals and patients that spurred Congress to take action. However, the battle is not yet over. Medicare physician payments face the same 21% cut beginning December 1.
We must keep the momentum going. The ACR will be back on Capitol Hill September 21 to advocate for a permanent fix to the Sustainable Growth Rate, but it will take the voice of all rheumatology professionals and patients to get Congress to act. How can you help strengthen the ACR’s message in Washington?
- Write, call, or e-mail your legislators. As a constituent, your members of Congress are elected to represent you. Contact them frequently to let them know how you feel about important issues.
- Schedule a meeting with your members of Congress in Washington. Visiting your legislators in Washington, D.C., helps build a relationship and shows that you are a committed advocate.
- Get your patients involved—they are constituents, too. Encourage them to call or write their members of Congress.
How can you be an effective advocate when members of Congress are at home?
- Invite your legislators to your office. This is a great opportunity to educate members of Congress on the importance of the rheumatology subspecialty and the effect that arthritis and rheumatic conditions have on quality of life.
- Meet with your legislators in their district office. An in-person meeting is an effective way to convey your message and allows you to build relationships with your legislators.
- Volunteer for a campaign. Volunteering is a great way to get involved in the political process. Support the candidate who will best represent the rheumatology community.
We must stay united to effect change. Contact your elected officials and make your voice heard. To find your legislators’ contact information or for more information on ACR advocacy activities, contact [email protected], or visit www.rheumatology.org/advocacy.