It may not technically be summer until next week, but the annual Congressional Summer recess is just around the corner. Congress will be in session for just five more weeks before the House retreats for its six-week recess from July 27 through September 8 and the Senate leaves for a five-week recess from August 3 through September 8. Members of Congress are tasked with sorting out various competing issues, all competing for time and attention with our priority legislation. As NAHU members, you know all too well the impact that health reform is having on you and your clients and why it is imperative that Congress make much needed reforms now. But Congress can only help if they know how these problems are affecting their constituents and what they can do to help.
That’s where you and your chapter come in. While NAHU lobbyists meet with legislators and their staff on a daily basis in Washington, D.C., often the most important meetings come directly from constituents who can relay an on-the-ground personal perspective from someone living in their district. NAHU is calling on every NAHU chapter to hold personal meetings with their congressional delegation to discuss our policy priorities and what Congress can do to bring meaningful relief to individuals, employers, and agents and brokers as they navigate the ongoing challenges of health reform.
If you or your chapter has not already scheduled a meeting with your member of Congress, we encourage you to do so! The first step is to reach out to your local chapter’s legislative chair and ask if any meetings are already scheduled or in the works. If not, work with your chapter’s legislative chair and fellow members to get a meeting on the calendar! The best way to schedule a meeting with your member of Congress is to call their district office and speak with the scheduler.
To help you prepare for your meetings, we’ve compiled some helpful tips that may be useful for you during your meeting:
- When having a meeting with your member of Congress or a member of their staff, it is incredibly helpful when introducing yourself, to briefly explain the role and the value of a health insurance agent or broker. Members of Congress and their staffs are so busy; their days are filled with constituent meetings of all topics. Prior to walking into your meeting they could have been in a meeting about energy policy or immigration, so briefly stating who you are and what you do at the beginning of the meeting is essential.
- Everyone likes to be thanked for their work and that holds true for members of Congress. If your member has been supportive of our issues by introducing or co-sponsoring priority legislation, please be sure to thank them! If you have any questions about your member and if they’ve been supportive of agent and broker issues and if NAHU has a relationship with them, please let us know.
- On the housekeeping side, it is also important to limit the number of members attending each appointment. Too many people at a meeting can overwhelm the office and bury your message.
Once you schedule a meeting, please let us know. In an effort to provide more support to NAHU members and chapters attending meetings with their member of Congress or their staff, we will be reaching out to those who have scheduled meetings with their representatives and providing them with customized talking points, specific to that member of Congress. Of course, we can only do this if you let us know about your appointment. If you have any questions on the summer recess, please send us a message!