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Monday, July 10, 2017

A Special Message to Our Donors: Thank You for Helping us be a Powerful Voice for Health Care Consumers

Matthew Farrey

Senior Director of Development and Strategic Partnerships

The debate in the U.S. Senate over health care repeal  is a pivotal moment in the history of health policy in the United States. We will either preserve the progress we have made toward achieving equal access to quality health care for all, or we will take a huge step backward and put the health of millions of people at risk. It is vital that health care consumers have a voice in this national debate. Families USA is that voice. Thanks to your support, we are making sure that the debate over the future of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and Medicaid is about people and not politics.

Our policy team is crafting issue briefs, blogs and fact sheets about the impact of repeal on people’s lives. Our campaigns team is working closely with our partners in the Protect Our Care Coalition, in the Medicaid Coalition, and in the states, to make sure that the voices of people and families are heard loud and clear on Capitol Hill as this debates rages on. And our communications team is amplifying the consumer voice through traditional, digital and social media. We are proud of the progress we have made but we will also remain resolute and determined to keep up the fight in the coming weeks. You can contribute to our efforts or access many of our campaign materials at our Protect Our Care initiative page 

There is an invaluable lesson that we have learned over the past three decades. The most powerful voices are those of consumers themselves. People need to tell their story about how health policy will impact their lives and the lives of those they love. Families USA empowers them to do exactly that.

Michael and his family at the rally outside of the Capitol.

Many of you may have seen the emotional appearance on MSNBC in June of Michael Phillips, a young man with spinal muscular atrophy, and his mother Karen Clay. They spoke eloquently and powerfully about how Medicaid makes it possible for Michael to live a fulfilling life. Their story went viral on social media and was subsequently picked up by multiple outlets. Michael, his mother, father, brother and personal care assistant then drove 16 hours to Washington, DC to speak at a rally on the lawn of the U.S. Capitol and meet with both of their Senators offices to discuss the importance of protecting Medicaid.

Their visit to DC was covered on MSNBC and since returning home, they have continued to participate in roundtable discussions with their Senators to discuss the future of Medicaid. Their voices have made a profound impact on this policy debate.

Michael’s mother said it best at the rally:

“Thank you Families USA for having us here today. My son may have lost his ability to speak, but his voice will not be silenced.“

And Michael’s is not the only family whose voices we are empowering. We are also telling the story of Gloria, an adorable 3 year old girl from Oregon with a rare genetic syndrome. Gloria’s father contacted us to share his fears about proposed cuts to Medicaid, which has provided round-the-clock health care to his daughter while he and his wife work multiple jobs.

Policy debates are of course about the details of legislation, and they are inevitably dominated by partisan politics. But I think we can all agree that health care should be about people and not politics. Listening to the stories of Michael and Gloria, and so many others just like them, makes all of us at Families USA so proud to be the “voice for health care consumers.” Thank you so much for making it possible for us to help them tell their stories.

Matt Farrey
Senior Director of Development