By Sarah Dobson, Director of Public Policy and Advocacy
January 3, 2019 marked the start of the 116th Congress. The new session welcomed 90 new members in the House of Representatives and 10 new senators into the group of 535 legislators. In preparation for the new Congress, Lutheran Services in America has developed new advocacy priorities to help guide our work and reflect what’s most important to our members. These priorities are:
- Ensure equitable access to high-quality, affordable health care. Specifically, maintain coverage helping millions of vulnerable Americans; no cuts or caps for Medicaid and Medicare funding; no counterproductive work requirements for Medicaid; and adequate funding for care.
- Secure sufficient funding and support to grow and train a more sustainable workforce to care for and help empower America’s most vulnerable people.
- Ensure that the important cost-saving role that social determinants of health play in keeping people healthy and independent is reflected in federal policies, funding and programs. Social determinants of health include, among other factors, access to caregiving and prevention services, safe housing, behavioral health services and nutritious food.
As part of our ongoing advocacy outreach, we have shared these priorities with all 535 members of Congress to help them and their staff members learn more about the Lutheran Services in America network. We developed these priorities by looking at the new Congressional environment and choosing areas where we can have a credible, significant impact and be proactive. We were also mindful of making them high-level, so that we have the flexibility to weigh in on varied legislation while remaining responsive to new issues that arise.
While these priorities do not capture the entire scope of our work, they will serve as a foundation to help shape our legislative advocacy and policy efforts. Our policy team will also use these in our meetings on the Hill and with federal agencies and our coalition partners, to actively support or oppose relevant legislation or regulations as we educate those we meet with on our work.
A detailed summary of our legislative priorities along with information about “why they matter” and “how we will act” can be found here.