By George Holliday, Chair
In June, the PCB Advocacy and Governmental Affairs Committee requested that you join us in a state-wide call-in, during the week of Monday, June 22 thru Friday, June 26. We invited you to join us in contacting and encouraging our representatives to sponsor H.R.729, the Medicare Demonstration of Coverage for Low Vision Devices Act of 2015. Members were instructed to give their contact information to whomever they spoke with and request a call back to confirm whether or not the legislator would agree to support the bill. During that week, I received approximately 51 email responses and several telephone calls informing me of telephone conversations with legislative offices. I am very impressed and thank everyone for participating.
Currently, there are 12 co-sponsors for H.R.729. This bill was referred to the House Subcommittee on Health, on February 6, 2015. Representative Carolyn Maloney of New York is the sponsor and Representative Robert Brady is the only co-sponsor from Pennsylvania. This means we still have several calls to make. If you can mention a personal experience in reference to this bill, this would be great! Legislators enjoy hearing about personal experiences.
Did you and your chapter get involved with the Advocacy Challenge? The game was developed by our committee to get you thinking about advocacy and all the ways you can be an advocate. The game included 15 advocacy endeavors for your chapter members to undertake between May 1 and September 15. Each completed task was worth 10 points for a possible total of 150 points. The chapter that accomplished the most tasks (highest points) will be awarded $150 and the runner up chapter will get $100. Come to the convention and find out how your chapter did.
By now, I guess you realize that the PCB Advocacy and Governmental Affairs Committee is constantly looking for ways for you to assist us with addressing advocacy. So far this year we have 1) encouraged you to take part in contacting your legislators regarding H.R.729, and 2) provided you with many advocacy opportunities via the Advocacy Challenge.
Now for the third advocacy effort, we are planning a November call-in to our legislators in order to implore them to find a permanent solution to the SSDI funding shortfall. This will be addressed further at the PCB Convention during the Advocacy report on Saturday. Also, additional information will be sent to chapter presidents, posted on the listserv, and sent to PCB members and friends.