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3 Common Myths About Self-Advocacy

Home Blog 3 Common Myths About Self-Advocacy

Authors Dan and Chip Heath once wrote, “Data are just summaries of thousands of stories – tell a few of those stories to help make the data meaningful.” Lawmakers often point to the numbers and data to try and make a convincing argument for or against a program. However, data alone cannot fully tell the powerful story of the personal impact this has on people’s lives.

This is why it’s important to tell your story. Our elected officials need to hear from those who are having a hard time accessing their medically necessary home medical equipment, services, and supplies under the Competitive Bidding program.

Data alone can’t portray your fears and frustrations if you wait weeks to get the equipment you need.  It can’t share the family hardship or the stress and struggle as people pay out of pocket to get what they need or simply go without. These stories breathe life into the data and give it context and meaning.  With many Medicare beneficiaries and families suffering, it’s more important than ever that people share their story to advocate for themselves and for countless others who are facing similar situations.

Let’s debunk three of the most common myths about self-advocacy so we can make sure everyone’s voice is heard.

Myth 1: My Voice Won’t Make a Difference

We’re all familiar with scenes of popular television series depicting legislators ducking calls so they don’t have to deal with constituents. But, contrary to what pop culture would tell you, legislators and their offices actually like to hear from constituents. It helps them understand the impact of the issue on their district, which can shape their position.

A phone call can also spur a legislator to action—they may show support for an effort through co-sponsorship, research an issue that wasn’t on their radar, etc. This is because legislative offices know that each phone call they receive represents the perspectives of more than just the individual calling. Not only does each call matter, each one matters more than you think.

Myth 2: They’ll Take Away My Medicare

Let’s be very clear on this point—no one will take away your Medicare benefits just because you voice your perspective on something. This is especially true when you speak to your own experience.

It is vital that legislators hear from those who are directly impacted by the issues. Real-world examples, the people who are struggling, these are the voices we all need to hear.

Myth 3: I’m Not Educated/Political/Outspoken Enough to Speak Out

When you call your legislator’s office, you’ll likely be speaking to a college-aged intern or an assistant. Neither is there to challenge your view. They’re there to listen to your concerns and potentially ask how the issue has impacted you.

Still there are steps you can take to prepare for calling your legislator’s office. For one, People for Quality Care has background information to help get you started. You can learn more about competitive bidding here.

After you’ve read up on the issue, you can always write down what you want to say in advance. This way your thoughts are already organized, and you don’t have to worry about remembering every detail.

Next Steps

The next step is simply getting your voice heard, and People for Quality Care can help. If you or a loved one is having access issues in obtaining home medical equipment, supplies, or services, please call People for Quality Care at 800-404-8702 and share the story.

As we seek meaningful reforms to the competitive bidding program to preserve access, these stories will help educational efforts with members of Congress on The Hill and with Medicare. Make sure legislators are getting the full story. Speak out today for change.

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