Diabetes Policy Advocacy Lexicon
Who has time to learn all the definitions of governmental advocacy? We do and so do you! With this simple lexicon, we’re sharing what you need to know to take action today!
Act: Legislation that is proposed that is comprised of many components. A few diabetes related acts are:
Medicare CGM Access Act
National Diabetes Clinical Care Commission Act
Access to Quality Diabetes Education Act
Advocacy: Using your voice to speak out on a specific issue or topic that concerns you. This can come in many forms (emails, letters, phone calls, face to face meetings, social media posts, etc.) The way you advocate may vary, but taking action is what counts. Any action you take to raise awareness about diabetes and diabetes policies is advocacy.
Amendment: A change to a bill that will then be discussed and voted on the same way a bill is. These changes typically come during the time that a bill is in a committee or sub-committee.
Bill: Proposed legislation that does not become a law until it is considered and passed by the legislature. Unfortunately, a lot of diabetes related bills can get lost in the shuffle. In the House, a bill will have a number assigned to it, beginning with H.R. (for House of Representatives). For instance, H.R. 1427 is the Medicare CGM Access Act of 2015. A bill introduced in the Senate begins with S. (for Senate).
Committee: Group of legislators that create legislation on specific topics. For example, S. 586 is currently in the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions. Act now to help get S. 586 approved by the Committee.
Congressional Record: The official transcript of federal House and Senate proceedings. You can search for Congressional Records here.
Conference Committee: The House and Senate appoint members to a conference committee to resolve differences between versions of legislation passed by both bodies. Both chambers then vote the combined legislation, which is called a “conference report.”
Co-sponsor: Although a legislator is not the sponsor of a bill, they may still support it and become a cosponsor of that legislation. It is important to have as many cosponsors on a bill. Find out if your elected officials are currently co-sponsoring diabetes related legislation. If not, Tweet them to ask them to co-sponsor.
Direct Lobbying: Actions taken to attempt to influence legislators to vote a specific way on a piece of legislation.
District: The geographic area from which a U.S House member or state legislator is elected. You can find the elected official for your district here.
General Accounting Office (GAO): GAO is a nonpartisan agency that is often called the “Congressional Watchdog” as they investigate how all taxpayer dollars are spent by the federal government. Since Medicare is funded by taxpayer dollars, this is an important agency for people with diabetes.
Grassroots Lobbying: Attempts to influence legislators on a specific legislation by affecting the public opinion and asking the public to take action. Sound familiar?
Hearing: A meeting to be able to present specific points of view to a committee. These meetings could include specific evidence, experts in the field or even members of public that may be affected by the outcome of the bill. Recently, Congressman Lipinski revealed his CGM and pump during a Congressional Hearing.
House: The lower body of the Congress, and most state legislatures. House members are elected to represent a geographic district. The US House (435 voting members) is much larger than the Senate (100 members).
Information Advocacy: Activities to provide useful information that may be used to create policy. Personal stories that are shared to your elected officials help provide information as to why certain legislation is so important to people with diabetes.
Judicial Advocacy: The attempt to create policy change based on the outcomes of the legal system.
Legislative Advocacy: The attempt to change policy from a legislative perspective. This could include lobbying for or against a bill, new legislation or even amendments to current bills. We encourage you to ask Congress to suspend the CMS Competitive Bidding Program, which would be a form of legislative advocacy.
Legislative Assistant (LA): A member of the staff that is put in charge of a specific issue or area. This person may be the most important person that you can speak to in an elected officials office. If you have the opportunity to speak with any staff member about diabetes related legislation, please do.
Lobbying: The act of attempting to influence legislators decision on a specific topic.
Majority (Minority) Leader: Leader of the majority (minority) party in either the House or the Senate:
Majority (Republican) Leader House – Kevin McCarthy – Diabetes Caucus Member
Minority (Democratic) Leader House – Nancy Pelosi – Diabetes Caucus Member
Majority (Republican) Leader Senate – Mitch McConnell
Minority (Democratic) Leader Senate – Harry Reid
Mark-up: The process of reviewing and potential revisions to a particular part of legislation by the committee members. There are several diabetes related bills that are currently in the mark-up phase. Please find your elected official on the DPAC Scorecard and Tweet your official.
Rider: When a specific bill has a great amount of strength, a provision may be attached to that bill in order to “ride” along through the approval process.
Whip: A chosen legislator whose job is to enforce their party’s policy by encouraging all members to vote a specific way:
Majority (Republican) Whip House – Steve Scalise – Diabetes Caucus Member
Minority (Democratic) Whip House – Steny Hoyer – Diabetes Caucus Member
Majority (Republican) Whip Senate – John Cornyn
Minority (Democratic) Whip Senate – Richard Durbin – Diabetes Caucus Member