Spring Recess Provides Opportunity for DCs to Meet, Talk to Representatives, Senators about H.R. 1610 and S. 799
Members of the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate are slated to head home to their districts and states starting April 1. The start of the traditional spring recess comes after, what both parties will tell you, was a tumultuous first few months of the congressional session. Nonetheless, during the first two weeks in April, members will hold town hall forums, listening sessions and other public events, some in a virtual setting, most live, geared toward gauging constituent views and interests.
Doctors of chiropractic, chiropractic students, and patients are especially encouraged to seek out their federal legislators at these virtual or public town hall meetings because they are a great way to begin establishing a relationship, or strengthening an existing one, with your lawmaker’s office. Typically, the legislator will make some remarks about what is happening on Capitol Hill and specifically about what he or she has accomplished or is working on. In addition, there is usually time set aside for questions and answers.
If you’ve never attended a town hall meeting before—or even if you’re a seasoned pro—it might feel a bit intimidating. Here are several tips to help you navigate the political town halls:
- With the introduction of H.R. 1610, the Chiropractic Medicare Coverage Modernization Act, and a Senate companion bill, S. 799 in March, please focus on attending an in-person or virtual town hall meeting with your member of the House of Representatives and senators. Please use our prepared talking points and ask your representative to cosponsor H.R. 1610 and your senator to cosponsor S. 799. Simply put, the more cosponsors we have, the better the likelihood of our success.
- If you’re representative is already a cosponsor, thanking them for their support is a good gesture. The same with your senators if they are already a cosponsor.
- Get to or sign-on to the in-person meeting early. In-person, town hall meetings or those using Zoom or some other virtual platform, are often very crowded, and you do not want to disturb the meeting after it has started. Also, you may have a better opportunity to ask your question and speak with your member of Congress after the event if you arrive to the virtual meeting early.
- Be polite and professional even if your representative or other town hall attendees disagree with your position. Stick to the facts, even if others don’t.
- Follow up with the representative of senators and his/her staff. Call or e-mail the office after the town hall meeting to offer additional resources or ask follow-up questions about the issues that were discussed.
- Above all, be visible. Let your legislators know that doctors of chiropractic and the services they provide are an important part of the healthcare delivery system in your community.
Find Out Where Your Representatives and Senators Will Be:
U.S. House of Representatives member locater
U.S. Senate member locater
Important tip: Once on your representative or senator’s webpage, sign up for email updates. This is often the best way to find out when virtual town hall meetings are taking place and how to participate.
Many offices release their recess schedule through their webpage, Facebook (see individual congressional website) or on Twitter. Your local newspaper may also list virtual town hall schedules. Check your legislator’s webpage, linked above, for the most up-to- date schedule and information.
Information You Need to Have for a Successful Meeting
Talking Points on H.R. 1610 and S. 799 (for your personal use)
Issue Brief on H.R. 1610 and S. 799 (can be distributed to House or Senate members)
Cost Effectiveness of Chiropractic for Medicare Beneficiaries
Chiropractic Medicare Coverage Modernization Act Home Page
IMPORTANT: If you can’t attend one of the public events, reach out to your representative’s and senators’ district office staff and request an in-person or virtual meeting. Again, representatives and senators are much more accessible during the spring and summer recess than at any other time of the year. Please let ACA staff know, using the email address below, if you talk to your representative about H.R. 1610 or your senators about S. 799 at a public forum or at their local office this summer. A more detailed “how to” primer on setting up a congressional visit in your area can be found here.
For additional information, please contact the American Chiropractic Association’s Department of Public Policy and Advocacy: (703) 812-0228 or [email protected].
Image credit: Photo by Eric Dekker