If you believe that all Ohioans should have access to affordable medical care, you probably think that Governor John Kasich's plan to expand Medicaid eligibility is a step in the right direction. And to persuade reluctant Ohio legislators to approve Kasich's two-year budget that includes Medicaid expansion, you may have already done one or more of the following:
- Participated in a public rally
- Written a letter to the editor
- Signed an online petition
- Called your legislators' offices to voice your support
All of these advocacy methods can be useful and effective, but they also share some limitations:
- They involve one-way communication. There's no opportunity for discussion or dialogue. In our age of instant mass communication, everyone is talking and writing. Not enough people are listening. Real dialogue involves the kind of back-and-forth interchange that engages people's minds, and opens their hearts to listen to what the opposing view has to say.
- They're more-or-less impersonal. When you get arguments or statistics that you're reluctant to accept, from people you don't know, you won't be inclined to trust what you're hearing. You're likely to dismiss what you're hearing or reading as "propaganda" from "those people."
Having a face-to-face conversation has the potential to cut through all of that. It's harder to dismiss people whom you've actually met and got to know a little. This is the arena where we discover what we have in common with other people, and establish a genuine human connection.
This is where direct meetings with legislators can be effective. On March 20 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., Ohio Consumers for Health Coverage and the Ohio Council of Churches are sponsoring an advocacy day for Medicaid expansion at Trinity Episcopal Church, across the street from the Ohio Statehouse.
Advocates will receive training on the basics of political lobbying and essential information about Medicaid expansion. Meetings with legislators will be held in the morning and afternoon.
A $20 donation is requested to cover the costs of breakfast, lunch, and materials. Click here for more information and to register. The registration deadline is Wednesday, March 13.