Are you tired of all the government bullshit?
Turning on the news these days seems more like a reality TV show than actual reality. Is it just me or does watching the buffoonery of this election cycle make you crazy too? Other government activities like some of the ridiculous laws being enacted that will never be enforced (hello bathroom police in North Carolina), or even brand new roads being resurfaced while old, potholed roads never get touched because of some bureaucratic nonsense are just as bad.
Now I’m not normally one to spearhead protests. I’ve never even held a picket sign, but something snapped in me one day and the next thing knew I was in Washington D.C. sitting across from both of my Senators. Not exactly protesting but trying to make a difference in my world.
Let me back up a minute and explain.
You see, I have health issues. Not the, “I’ve got the flu” kind of stuff. I had cancer four times and two autoimmune diseases before my 40th birthday. So to say that I’ve been involved with the healthcare industry for most of my adult life would be an understatement.
Here are just a few of the issues I’ve had to deal with:
- Insurance company repeatedly canceling my medications during treatment
- Being forced to endure ‘step therapy’ – a program where to be prescribed the drug you really need, you have to first take, and fail, with a cheaper, less effective drug
- Hospitals billing up to five years after a procedure is done then immediately sending me into collections for the bill
- Insurance nonpayment for off labeled medication (FDA approved medication not specifically designed for my disease). 95% of rare diseases like mine have no other option other than off label medication.
- Having to go to the hospital for treatment I normally get at home because of insurance technicalities
- Limiting coverage because of pre-existing conditions
Having chronic health issues is hard enough but adding insult to injury is the hours, no months, spent dealing with bureaucratic red tape and an uninformed healthcare industry that can make a sane, healthy person crazy and sick.
I figured I had two choices. I could either:
- Give up and stop treatment or pay for it myself (which is what they want)
- Gather whatever strength you have and fight.
I decided to take back my power from big pharma and insurance companies that were making decisions on my behalf but not in my best interest. Since neither of these companies are going change unless directed to by law, I thought I would see what I could do to make my life and the lives of the 50 million other Americans with a chronic illness a little better.
These are the steps I took to make a difference
Although these are specific to healthcare, the same steps can apply to just about any issue the government is involved with.
- I did some research on lobbyist working on behalf of people with rare diseases and found the Rare Disease Legislative Advocates or RDLA. There site contained pending legislation specific to rare diseases with links to send letters and phone calls to my local representative.
- I signed up to get emails from govtrack.org. This website provides free research, tracking, and analytics on the daily activities of the United States Congress. Right now when you go on the site, you can click if you think Congress should consider the Supreme Court Nominee now or wait for a new President. Whatever your beliefs, Congress gets a daily tally to keep an eye on their constituents. I’ve talked to Congressmen, Senators, and their staff, and they have all said this has a huge impact on how they vote (after all, they want to get re-elected).
- I went to the RDLA caucus in Washington D.C. which was partially government subsidized so my airfare was paid for. During the caucus I learned what bills were on the congressional floor and where to go to speak to my local representatives, but you don’t need someone pointing you in the right direction. You can make appointments yourself or visit your representative at their home office.
- I picked two bills that would directly affect my own healthcare. The first was the Open Act, HR 971/S 1421, which repurposes already-FDA-approved drugs for rare diseases. The other was S. 275: Medicare Home Infusion Site of Care Act of 2015 which lets Medicare patients get ongoing IV’s at home instead of having to go to the hospital (saving taxpayers $93 million a year and keeping the patient healthier). Since I’m actually getting an IV as I write this, I thought these would be two great bills to work on to benefit me and countless others.
- I made appointments with two senators and three representatives and armed with backup information on these two bill, I spoke with them explaining why I thought these were important and how they affected my life. Then I asked them to co-sponsor the bills which means that they fully support them.
All of them listened, reviewed the bills and at the end of the day, all supported the second bill and half supported the Open Act.
Surprisingly, our government officials actually do listen to our opinion but we have to speak up to have them hear us.
Since then I’ve taken to social media encouraging others to support these bills. Both passed in the House with overwhelming bipartisan support and it looks like the Medicare Act will pass in the Senate.
With 10,000 new bills on the floor every year, I can guarantee there will be something that will affect your life too. You don’t have to go to Washington to make a difference either. Making a call or sending a letter may be be the difference between getting something you need passed and it falling silently in the trash. As I say to my children, if you don’t make an effort to get involved, you can’t complain about the outcome. It’s really easy and you, too. We all can make a difference in your own world. All we have to do is try.
About the Author
Lisa Douthit is the author of Amazon’s #1 bestselling book, Wellness Warrior – Fighting for Life in Fabulous Shoes and an Integrative Health Consultant who is passionate about healing from all perspectives. After struggling with multiple bouts of cancer and autoimmune disease, no one understands the physical, spiritual, and emotional rollercoaster better than she does. As one of the 40 million American women currently suffering with an autoimmune disease, she made it her mission to have a voice for all those with an invisible illness, and prove you can be well without perfect health. She has a private Facebook Group called Wellness Warrior Tribe for all those with chronic illness looking for support and encouragement. For more out of the box thinking that is guaranteed to bring you joy, Like her FaceBook Page Here or join the tribe Here.
Come hang out with her:
Book info: http://lisadouthit.com/warriorbook/
Pay it Forward with a free book here: http://lisadouthit.com/warriorbook/pay-it-forward/
Facebook Page: www.facebook.com/wellnesswarrioronline/
Private FaceBook group Wellness Warrior Tribe: https://www.facebook.com/groups/WWarriortribe/
Goodreads page: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/14256495.Lisa_Douthit
Thrilled to have Lisa here this week! Watch for more guest posts from Gravity authors each Thursday!