Build Support for Medicaid expansion in the State Budget in Ohio How to Write a Letter to the Editor First, read the newspaper you want to submit it to. Look for other articles, letters, ads, or opinion pieces that you might be able to respond to in your letter. Make sure you are responding to something previously printed. Cite that piece at the beginning, without summarizing it, and go on to make your points. Reference the latest news on Medicaid expansion. The best letters are written in your own voice—because you can add references to local experience and take advantage of coverage you see every day. Make the letter to the editor your own, whether you’re using a template or not. Be brief and choose your message. Your letter shouldn’t be more than 150-175 words, so try to focus on one or two specific points. Be specific. Use the latest data from the Health Policy Institute of Ohio, OSU and the Urban Institute. Be on target. If you want a specific person, like a local legislator, to hear your message, name that person in your letter. This will make it much more likely that person will read your letter. You do not have to be an expert on the data. Instead, tell a story about why this topic matters. You are an expert on your own story, and that will make a stronger case to other readers. Frequently Asked Questions Why should I write a letter to the editor? Many people, elected officials included, read the opinion section of their local newspaper. Letters are an excellent way to get media coverage, are easy to write, and have a good chance of being printed. Write a Letter to the Editor of your local newspaper today. It’s easy. Just click here. What if I don’t have time to write a letter? Most newspapers provide space for online comments. It’s quick and easy to get your point of view out and to supply new information. If an opinion piece is written that you agree with, pay attention to the comments opponents are writing. Make sure you get your comments in so that it doesn’t look like the majority of your community rejects views you share. If you don’t agree with a piece, or know it is factually inaccurate, it’s a good opportunity to set the record straight. Should I send someone a copy when I get my letter published? Yes! Ohio’s state legislators will read your letter, but send a copy to them to make sure. Also, make sure you log your Letter to the Editor with Advocates for Ohio’s Future (AOF), so we can track which newspapers are hearing from our supporters. AOF will send them to your lawmakers, too. Sample Letter to the Editor The recent article reported in [your newspaper’s story and date] discussed why Governor Kasich and the state legislature should offer Medicaid services to more people. For the health and competitiveness of all Ohioans, I say take the federal money and use it right here to strengthen families and communities in Ohio. Medicaid is a healthcare program for people supported by both state and federal government. On the question of expansion, the federal government is offering a generous deal to the states. If we expand Medicaid, the federal government will fund the program 100 percent the first three years (2014-2016); then 95 percent (2017); then 94 percent (2018); then 93 percent (2019); and from 2020 on the feds pay 90 percent of the costs of the expanded coverage. Ohio needs to seriously consider this deal. Expansion of Medicaid will also boost the healthcare sector of our economy and decrease the cost we all pay to cover uncompensated care. In addition, if Ohio doesn’t expand Medicaid, the tax dollars we pay will simply go to another state. Nothing is saved by not choosing to expand and money that could be kept right here helping our own citizens will be spent elsewhere. Additional Talking Points Right now, more than 1.5 million Ohioans, or nearly 14 percent of our population, wake up every day without health insurance coverage. As a result, many of them go without health care until their condition becomes more severe and costlier to treat. When they do seek treatment, it’s often in the most expensive way possible – through emergency rooms and hospitals. The cost of caring for the uninsured falls to everyone. Those with health coverage pay more in treatment costs, and we all pay more in taxes to support local and state public health programs. Expansion also supports our health care economy, sustaining and growing jobs at the many hospitals and health systems throughout the state. There are many reasons why Medicaid expansion is a good deal for Ohio. I hope our lawmakers will support it. Medicaid expansion is a win – win for Ohio. A decision to include Medicaid expansion in the next state budget will create over 30,000 jobs, result in nearly 500,000 uninsured Ohioans gaining health coverage, and help Ohio realize nearly $1.4 billion in savings through 2022. Write a Letter to the Editor of your local newspaper today. It’s easy. Just click here.
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