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Lymphedema Bill--now what?

  • As I thought might occur after the election, people are asking me “If my Representative is not yet a cosponsor do I continue to contact his/her office (especially if he/she was not re-elected) or wait until next year?”  Rather than answer one by one, I will address this to everyone and then resume sending updates only every 2-3 weeks.

    If your Representative was re-elected then by all means keep after him/her.  If he/she signs on this year we are essential assured they will automatically re-sign on next year.

    If your Representative was not re-elected it may still help increase your chances of success at getting his/her successor to sign on if your current Representative has, even if they are from different political parties.

    And it is never too soon to start contacting an incoming Representative.  He/she will certainly have more time for correspondence now than once in office.  Campaign email addresses often remain active and those who work on the campaigns sometimes become paid staff members, so you could also make some valuable connections.   

    Politely congratulate them on their victory then express your desire that they cosponsor this bill once in office.  Essentially you can use the same letter you have already used with your current Representative, or the samples on the website, with just some minor modifications.

    Do not be hesitant if you are of a differing political persuasion than your current or newly elected Representative.  This is not a Democratic or Republican issue.  This is common sense legislation that improves patient care while saving precious health care dollars, and that is something we can all agree on.  The constitution of next year’s Congress will change, but our challenge remains the same – lifting the veil of ignorance regarding lymphedema and its treatment. 

     You may be interested to know that I first met Congressman Kissell when he was just a candidate.  I had been asked to speak at a rally during the 2008 campaign season to share my story as an example of why Health Care reform was needed, and unbeknownst to me he was a member of the audience.  At the conclusion Kissell approached me, handed me his card and said “I am running for Congress in your district, and I promise to help your family if elected.”

    15 months later, after losing the battle with my insurance company but succeeding in getting the North Carolina State mandate I asked for a meeting with now Congressman Kissell.  I had the very card he gave me in hand and he remembered me well.  Thankfully, as we all now know, this was a campaign promise kept!

    If you have any other questions please feel free to contact me,

    Heather Ferguson