Tuesday, October 11, 2011

As Super Committee Deadline Approaches, Call Your Members of Congress This Wednesday - Friday

This Friday, October 14th is the deadline for Congressional Committees to submit recommendations for federal deficit reduction to the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction (or "Super Committee"). The Super Committee is a bipartisan, bicameral body tasked with developing a plan that cuts $1.5 trillion over the next ten years. These are very serious conversations and decisions and as the process moves forward, we must work to ensure that federal cuts don’t harm critical programs for people with chronic diseases and disabilities, including people living with multiple sclerosis.

The National MS Society sent a letter to each member of the Super Committee urging it to protect MS research in the Congressionally Directed Medical Research Programs (CDMRP), research funding at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), Medicaid, Medicare, and Social Security. To read the Society's letter, click here.

Congressional input is valuable. As the October 14th deadline approaches, take a few minutes this Wednesday through Friday to call your members of Congress and let them know what is important to you. Talking points and phone numbers are listed below.

• Call 1-866-414-6376 to reach your U.S. Representative. You will hear a pre-recorded message. Enter your zip code using the numbers on your touch-tone phone. You will be connected to your Congressperson’s office.

• Call 1-866-414-7494 to reach your U.S. Senators. Again, you will hear a pre-recorded message and will need to enter your zip code. You will then be asked whether you want your call to go to your state’s junior Senator or your senior Senator. After making your selection, your call will be directed to the appropriate office. You should make a phone call to each Senator’s office.

• Be sure to call your U.S. Representative and both U.S. Senators—every member is important!

Here is a sample script you can use:"Hi, my name is ____(name)______. I’m a voter from ____(give your home town)___ as well as an advocate for the National MS Society. May I please speak to the staff person who handles health care issues?

Talking Points to Health Staffer:Today, the National MS Society is joining with other patient advocacy groups to ask Members of Congress to consider how deep cuts in health spending will impact patients.

Reducing investment in medical research and public health care coverage may save money now, but this will lead to even higher costs in the future if the health of Americans decline as a result of the cuts. Protecting investments in health includes areas such as:

• Protecting funding for MS research in the Congressionally Directed Medical Research Programs and National Institutes of Health and,

• Maintaining entitlement programs for persons living with disabilities by rejecting changes to Medicaid, Medicare, and Social Security, which would result in reduced access to and/or quality of services for eligible individuals.

Dramatic cuts in these two areas would dramatically impact me [and my family]. [Share your personal story.]

Please tell Representative/Senator ___(insert name)____ to consider the impact that cutting health spending would have on me and the rest of the nation. Thank you."

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