DOWNLOAD PRINTABLE VERSION: House Labels
DOWNLOAD PRINTABLE VERSION: Senate Labels
It is not only important for legislators to hear from their constituents, but from organizations as well. Click here
The following template can be used to write a letter to the each member of the House and Senate on behalf of your organization.
1. Use Your Own Stationery
2. If you use mail merge you can use the following format. Please contact us if you need a list of legislators and their addresses or just use the House and Senate Labels above (they are Adobe Acrobat Files; use 5160 Avery labels). Otherwise a straight "Dear Representative/Senator" will do for all Represenatives and Senators. When mailing you don’t need a room number, just mail %State House 02133.
House of Representatives
State House, Boston, MA 02133
Dear Representative ------, or Dear Mr. Chairman/Madame Chair, Dear Mr./Madame Leader,
State House, Boston, MA 02133
Dear Senator --------, or Dear Mr. Chairman/Madame Chair, Dear Mr./Madame Leader
Below are some all purpose paragraphs that cover important HealthNow! talking points. Feel free to reorder and prioritize. State wide organizations can mail to all 200 legislators, regional and local organizations can mail to their own delegations.
Please check out the Health Now! Massachusetts web site at HCFAMA.ORG and pull down copies of the detailed summary of the bill, fact sheets and other background materials you may want to include with your letter.
(Your Organization) is a (state-wide) (regional) (local) organization committed to ---(your mission statement)-----, and we are an active member of the Health Now! Massachusetts Coalition because------your priority reason----------------------
We are writing to you today to ask your support for an exciting new initiative to expand access to health care for those without adequate insurance by raising the tobacco tax in Massachusetts by 50-cents.
An Act to Expand Access to Health Care, Reduce Youth Smoking and the Use of Tobacco Products, and Improve Public Health in the Commonwealth is sponsored in the Senate (S.1703) by Senator Mark Montigny, Chair of the Senate Committee on Ways and Means, Majority Leader Linda Melconian, Chair of Health Care Richard Moore and 5 other Senators, and sponsored in the House (H. 2169) by Rep Rachel Kaprielian, Chair of the Legislative Tobacco Caucus, Rep. John Rogers, Chair of House Ways and Means and 44 other representatives. The House Bill is currently in the Senate Ways & Means Committee and the Senate Bill is currently in the House Ways & Means Committee.
This landmark bill will be another major step toward universal health care in our state, while having the added impact of decreasing smoking and tobacco use in Massachusetts, particularly among youth. Tobacco is the state's leading contributor to preventable death and disease.
H.2169/S.1703 would raise the state's tobacco excise tax by 50 cents per pack and the money would go toward expanding access to health care for those without insurance.
These new funds would help to cover over 85,000 of the state's uninsured citizens including parents, older adolescents and those who work in low-wage jobs that do not provide health insurance.
In addition, the bill will improve public health and address racial and ethnic disparities in health by increasing the support for community health outreach efforts, ensure coverage for quit smoking programs, assist low income seniors, and help stabilize hospitals and other providers critical to their communities.
Over 10,000 people die every year in Massachusetts due to smoking. We can decrease this number because we know that raising tobacco prices is the single most effective thing we can do to quickly reduce tobacco consumption, especially among youth.
As you my know in 1996, a broad-based alliance of legislators, tobacco control and health care advocates, medical providers and other supporters joined forces to pass a similar bill, Chapter 203, which raised the tobacco tax by 25-cents to provide coverage for virtually every child in Massachusetts and to enact the senior pharmacy program. Since then, thousands of children and seniors throughout Massachusetts have been able to access health care due to this new coverage and the aggressive outreach efforts of state agencies and local advocates and providers. The Health Now! Massachusetts coalition is a similar broad-based state wide coalition.
We are proud that Health Now! Massachusetts is part of an historic New England wide effort called the Alliance for a Healthy New England. Legislatures in each of the six states are currently debating a 50 cent tobacco tax increase to fund health care and/or tobacco control, depending on the needs in that state. Never before have six states converged in pursuit of a mutual goal to raise state tobacco excise taxes and increase access to health care. We believe this unique regional approach is serving to dampen any opposition due to cross border economic effects, in part because New York recently raised its tobacco tax by 55-cents and the price of cigarettes in Canada is higher than any of the proposed total taxes in New England.
Finally, you should be aware of a recent poll of 2480 registered voters by the University of New Hampshire Survey Center for the American Cancer Society, New England Division, that showed very strong support by Massachusetts voters for a tobacco tax and for legislators who would support the tax. Massachusetts voters strongly supported use of the funds for tobacco control and for increased access to health care for the uninsured, the under-insured and seniors.
Enclosed you will find a more detailed summary of the Health Now! Massachusetts legislation, some fact sheets.
We hope that you will communicate your support of the Health Now! Massachusetts to the Senate President Birmingham (Senators)/ Speaker Finneran (Representatives).
If you would like more information please feel free to contact me. Thank you for your time and consideration of this important issue.
Your President’s name