Drafting Your Own Story: A Letter to the Editor

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The Basics

  • Write from the heart and keep your letter short – less than 200 words. Each Letter to the Editor (LTE) may have different directions, so always check the editorial page of the paper or website.
  • Start with a strong statement explaining your main idea– grab the reader’s attention! Come up with a catchy title!
  • Be informed and passionate, but also polite – include your own experiences if you can.
  • Think about your audience –Editors are more willing to publish an LTE that shows relevance to its readers. Be sure to mention any local actions or issues that have recently surfaced.
  • The success of an LTE is not just when it gets published! Editors pay attention to the LTEs they receive, and multiple letters on a single topic could inform future articles.
  • Be clear and propose a solution or call to action! Why do you want people to care?
  • Make sure you proofread and use spellcheck. It is helpful to have someone read over your letter before you submit it.
  • Most papers will not publish a letter that has been submitted to another newspaper.
  • Keep an eye on the LTE page to see if anyone responds to your letter! It could be a great way to create a dialogue with other people.
  • When submitting an LTE, be sure to provide your full name, address, phone number, and email address.

Points to Emphasize in your Letter to the Editor about the ACA

  • Senators Graham and Scott must protect healthcare, especially Medicaid which covers 1.1 million South Carolinians.
  • When the US Senate develops their own healthcare plan it must not make any structural changes to the Medicaid program. Because South Carolina is considered poor state our Medicaid program currently receive $.70 in federal funds for every $.30 we put up in state dollars.
  • Changing Medicaid to either block grant or per capital cap systems will fundamentally change the Medicaid Program, limiting services and requiring different eligibility groups to compete against each other for services.
  • The changes in Medicaid will cost South Carolina 2 billion dollars over ten years, money our state budget cannot absorb. This will cause needed services to be cut hurting the health of vulnerable children, disabled and elderly.
  • Changing cost sharing subsidies provided by the ACA will impact more than 200,000 South Carolinians could find that their insurance will become unaffordable. Any changes to the ACA must protect the people of South Carolina.
  • Patients with preexisting conditions would lose current protections. Insurance companies could charge higher premiums.
  • South Carolina hospitals, clinics, and doctors will lose millions in federal dollars, making it harder for them to stay open to serve patients.
  • Changes to the ACA and Medicaid will impact everyone’s insurance, even private pay, causing costs to increase for all with higher premiums and deductibles.

Sample Phrases

“Medicaid is the foundation for paying for healthcare in South Carolina, changes to its funding structure will leave more than one million people struggling for coverage and create vulnerabilities in coverage for us all.

“A replacement of the Affordable Care Act should preserve the coverage gains made to date and further increase the number of South Carolinians with health insurance while leaving our Medicaid program intact.”

“The Affordable Care Act has impacted me through its many protections as a South Carolinian under the age of 26 living with a preexisting health condition.”

“Congress must ensure that premiums and cost-sharing—like deductibles and copays—are at least as affordable as those under the ACA.”

“Health care today enables women, older people, and those pre-existing health conditions to live their lives free of discrimination by insurers, we cannot go back to pre-ACA.”

“The Affordable Care Act has been innovative in providing people with adequate assistance in enrolling in, using, and retaining health coverage, we cannot go back to a time when more than 17% of South Carolina was uninsured.”

Sample phrase for no cuts to Medicaid

“Medicaid is the primary public source of funding for long-term services and supports for vulnerable people including children, pregnant women, people with disabilities and older adults. Program cuts, block grants, and per-capita caps would be detrimental to people who have no alternative means of paying for essential services.”

Letter to the Editor Examples

Healthcare

Repealing the Affordable Care Act, otherwise known as Obamacare, would be a disaster and leave millions of Americans, including over 230,000 South Carolinians, with no option. Congress claims their replacement will be something better, but I have yet to see any plan of substance.

As a woman, the ACA has directly impacted me in a positive way. Now, being a woman is no longer considered a “pre-existing condition”, and insurance companies can’t charge me more than a man. Not only was being a woman considered a pre-existing condition prior to the ACA, but so was pregnancy, and so was domestic violence. Thanks to the ACA, none of these things stand in the way of obtaining quality, affordable care. The only thing standing in my way is the AHCA passed by the House of Representatives. For six years, congress has tried to tear down the ACA, but has been unsuccessful. During this time, they could have been refining the law to make it stronger. I refuse to sit on the sidelines and watch while congress flounders over my health care.

We need to preserve the ACA, and work together to improve it, instead of tearing the progress we’ve made into pieces. 

Healthcare

         My name is Terrence Culbreath, the proud Mayor of Johnston in Edgefield County. The Affordable Care Act is crucial in my life, and the lives of the people of Johnston. The other day, I talked to a friend whose son could now stay on his insurance until he was 26, allowing him to work part-time while attending USC. I have friends and constituents who were uninsurable, couldn’t afford insurance, or couldn’t pay for life-saving medications before the ACA. Do we call ourselves public servants if we’re not protecting those who cannot afford healthcare? Do we ignore the children who won’t receive needed medical attention? All we have heard from lawmakers has been rhetoric and fruitless votes to repeal it. I hear my constituents’ concerns about the future of health care. Our small community hospital might not survive a repeal of the ACA. Folks are scared and want to know what will happen to their doctors. The ACA has provided South Carolinians access to affordable health care, protections, and essential health benefits like preventive care. Repealing the ACA puts 30 million people at risk, 230,000 who live in South Carolina. For me, the impact hits close to home: I think of my constituents who are scared to think about life without affordable health care. I think of my friend’s son who could not benefit from his dad’s insurance to attend college. I hope and pray that our representatives in Washington think of how repealing the ACA will impact us back home 

Please contact Lauren Knottek at SC Appleseed directly if you would like to plan one together!
Phone: 803-779-1113 x 104
Email: [email protected]

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