Talking To Legislators About Healthcare Sharing

August 3rd, 2017

Like many of you, we here at Liberty HealthShare have been watching and waiting to see what Congress will do regarding federal healthcare policy. In fact, Liberty has participated in discussions on Capitol Hill, making sure healthcare sharing remains recognized, protected, and available as a method of paying medical costs for our members. At this point, it appears Congress is an at an impasse and no changes to the Affordable Care Act are imminent. Therefore, we are business as usual.

Earlier this year, we asked you to reach out to Congressional representatives to ask for continued recognition and protection of healthcare sharing. Many of you contacted us asking for more instructions on how to speak with legislators or their staff members. Since we may ask you to contact your representatives again in the future, we pulled together some best practices.

Finding your Legislators

  1. Simply search the internet with the phrase “Find my US Senator” or Find my US Representative/Congressman.” This will bring up options that direct you to .gov sites where you can enter your address.
  2. Create an address card for your representative and senators including their email address, Washington, D.C. address and phone number, and district address and phone number. Remember that Representatives/Congressmen are elected every two years and Senators are elected every six years.

  3. Repeat for state legislators, searching “Find my [state name} State Senator” and “Find my {state name} State Representative/Congressman. Create an address card for these individuals as well. Remember that state legislators are elected every two years.

Call your Legislator’s Office

  1. Call the district office for your federal representative FIRST and be sure to introduce yourself as a constituent. Tell the person answering the phone the issue or specific legislation you are calling about. Ask to speak with a staff member working on that issue or legislation, if possible.
  2. If a staff member working on the topic about which you are calling is not available, ask to leave a message and request a call back. Request this person’s name and e-mail address as well. You may or may not get directed to someone in Washington, D.C. Don’t get caught up in the “I want to talk to Washington!” mentality. If you have called your representative's office, you are speaking to their staff.
  3. If you need to e-mail the staff member who works on the issue about which you called, introduce yourself and reference the issue or legislation and why you wish to discuss it. Follow up with another call or e-mail if you do not get a response within a week, allowing for legislative recesses.

Develop a Relationship

  1. It is important to develop a relationship with the office and your legislator regardless of whether you are affiliated with the same political party. 

  2. Make sure they know who you are, what you do for work, and that you are a member of a healthcare sharing ministry. Share with them what issues are important to you and how you feel the legislator should be voting in regards to these issues.
  3. Ask to be on the list for district meet and greets and when they occur, attend them with your family. If you operate a business in the district, invite your legislator to visit or schedule a meeting to introduce yourself. When possible, visit your legislator’s office in Washington, D.C. or at your state Capitol. Call ahead to schedule a visit.

Advocate for Healthcare Sharing

  1. Let your legislators know you are a member of Liberty HealthShare, a healthcare sharing ministry. Tell them why you chose to join our ministry. Be specific - tell your personal story.
  2. Talk to your legislator(s) about how healthcare sharing works and how it is working for you.
  3. Let your legislator know that access to healthcare sharing as a method of paying medical costs is important to you and to one million other Americans. The Affordable Care Act (ACA) provides an exemption for ministries and that exemption should remain no matter what happens with regard to healthcare legislation.

If a vote is imminent, that is the time to call the legislative office in either Washington, D.C. or your state Capitol. Provide your name and city/town of residence. Ask whether the legislator has decided how he or she will vote. Register your support or opposition. If the legislator has not decided, specifically say how you want the legislator to vote on a particular bill. Offer one sentence concerning why the issue is important and how the legislation could affect you. Remember to be gracious to the people answering the phones. Understand that the office may be fielding dozens to hundreds of calls, depending on the bill. During contentious votes, staff members are simply taking names of constituents and counting support and opposition calls, so be kind and clear.

We encourage you to be an active advocate for yourself, your family, your business, etc. as you engage with your elected representatives. Where it comes to healthcare sharing, we are working hard to inform and educate others, including those who make legislative determinations. If you are a satisfied sharing member, make sure your legislators know this. You, the member, are Liberty HealthShare's best advocate as we continue to work to preserve and protect our cost sharing method.