By John Richardson, NSGC Director of Policy and Government Relations
The effort to gain recognition for genetic counselors under the Medicare program continues to progress. Earlier this week I met with Representative Erik Paulsen (MN-3). Our advocacy team has been meeting regularly with his staff as well as with the House Ways and Means Committee staff.
Erica Ramos stormed the Hill on July 10 and met with eight congressional offices representing California, Pennsylvania, as well as the House Ways and Means Health Subcommittee Chairman Peter Roskam’s staff (IL-6). The meetings went very well and we received a very positive response to our request that Congress enact a law that would add genetic counselors to Medicare.
Our work will continue and even increase in activity despite the fact that the United States House of Representatives has recessed for August break. Once we receive the forthcoming final bill from the House Legislative Counsel, we will reach out to NSGC members who reside in key congressional districts with a very specific request. We’ll ask for these members to schedule meetings with members of Congress in their home district offices to discuss why the legislators should support the genetic counselor bill as an original co-sponsor. NSGC will provide everything needed to schedule the meeting including staff contacts, a draft meeting request and briefing materials. I will also be available to speak directly with our members prior to any meeting that is scheduled.
The bill will be introduced once Congress returns from recess and we have a bipartisan group of Representatives confirmed as original co-sponsors. NSGC will then alert the broader membership and request that all NSGC members send emails to their members of Congress asking for support. The goal will be to recruit as many co-sponsors as we can because if we demonstrate strong support through co-sponsors, then the bill is more likely to be enacted into law.
If you or your family has a personal relationship with a member of Congress please let us know. Lastly, if you are planning a visit to Washington, D.C., and are interested in meeting with your member of Congress, please let us know. We would be happy to schedule that meeting and attend with you.
With your help, genetic counselor recognition under the Medicare program can become a reality.
This article was published in the July 2018 Advocate Newsletter.