Government Advocacy

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Write your legislator

Writing a letter or sending an email is the most common means of communicating with members of Congress. A well written letter may influence a representative’s decision making, and a significant volume of letters on a particular issue will secure the attention of your legislators and their staff.

Writing letters or emailing elected officials allows you to express an opinion concerning an issue and urge the member to support your views. They can also communicate your satisfaction or disapproval with a vote that has recently been cast. Whatever your intent, you should consider the dos and don'ts on this page when writing a letter.

What you should do:

  • Identify yourself - a letter will be given serious consideration if you are a constituent.
  • Be specific - clearly illustrate your support or opposition for a particular bill or why you approve/disapprove of a recent vote.
  • Address the letter correctly - Address a letter to a Representative like this: The Honorable (full name) United States House of Representatives Washington, D.C. 20515
  • Open your letter with the phrase "Dear Representative (last name)". Letters to Senators should be addressed to same way, but open with the phrase "Dear Senator (last name)".
  • Illustrate your position with local examples - legislators and staff appreciate how legislation affects local constituents; let them know.
  • Offer to serve as a resource - highlight your expertise or community involvement.  Be timely - write when the issue is current.

What you shouldn't do:

  • Don't be argumentative or confrontational.
  • Avoid jargon and complex medical terms. Don't make threats such as "don't count on my vote next election if you don't ..."
  • Don't misrepresent your position - decisions should be based on sound data and accurate facts.
  • Out of respect for the Congress person’s busy schedule, keep your message to one page and offer to provide additional information upon request
Download the tip sheet here.

Get started and join the fight now by supporting one of MGMA’s active letter-writing campaigns.

Call your legislator

Using the telephone to contact your lawmaker is an effective way to address a legislative issue in a rapidly evolving policy situation. If possible, it is particularly effective in combination with either a visit or letter.

United States Senators and Representatives can be reached in Washington via the Congressional switchboard at (202) 224.3121, which will connect you directly to the correct office. They can also be reached in their local, or “district,” offices during periods of congressional recess.

When you reach the office, do not expect to speak personally with your member of Congress. Rather, try to speak with the member's health legislative assistant (LA). The LA will be more familiar with health issues and has the important access and background to properly brief the lawmaker. The LA, who is largely in charge of the actual drafting and developing of health policy, will be the key contact in the member's office. Building a successful relationship with the LA is an invaluable way to influence the process in Washington.

What you should do:

  • Identify yourself and from where you are calling – indicate whether or not you are a constituent, it matters.
  • Clearly and specifically explain why you are calling.
  • Clearly indicate your support of or opposition to the specific measure – reference a bill number if available.
  • Ask whether or not the member currently has a position on the specific measure
  • Illustrate why you feel the way you do with easy to understand local examples about how an issue affects you, your practice, its patients, etc.
  • Offer to serve as a resource - highlight your expertise and community involvement.
  • Be timely - call when an issue is pending, not when it just passed.

What you shouldn't do:

  • Be argumentative or confrontational.
  • Ramble through a list of unrelated issues.
  • Make threats such as "don't count on my vote next election if you don't ..."
  • Complain - be positive even if you don't necessarily agree and ask that the member reconsider their position.

Meet your legislator




Download "MGMA grassroots advocacy 101"
 
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