If It Ain’t Broke, Don’t Fix It.

UPDATE: Because of people’s calls, the following Senators have signed on and deserve our thanks:
Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI)
Jack Reed (D-RI)
Bob Casey, Jr. (D-PA)
Chris Dodd (D-CT)
John Kerry (D-MA)
Bob Menendez (D-NJ)
Jeff Merkley (D-OR)

******

That’s the approach government takes when it comes to health and health disparities. And you don’t know it’s broke if you don’t ask. Because no broadbased national health surveys ask questions about sexual orientation or gender identity, we are really limited on what we can say about LGBT communities’ health….and limited on what funding is allocated to help shrink health disparities.

The National Coaltion for LGBT Health has been working hard behind the scenes to rectify this situation, by getting the support of government health surveyers to ask about gender and sexual orientation. But to add the question to the largest national health survey requires an additional $2M appropriation. Right now, there is a letter circulating in the Senate to help address this issue. I’ve worked hard with a group of people to get my Senator, Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), to take the lead on circulating a letter to the Senate Appropriations Committee, but now it’s critical that we work to get him some support and political cover. (For more information on why this is important, see Bill and Tuna’s Excellent Post here.) Please help get the word out, and call your Senator, and ask them to call Senator Whitehouse and sign on to the LGBT health survey letter.

Below the jump is a list of top targets, so please help get the word out especially in these states. Below that is a short script for what to say. The Senate switchboard number is 1-202-224-3121, and though an operator answers 24 hours a day, calls during business hours (when you can speak to an actual Senate staffer) are particularly important. The sign-on deadline is Friday, so time is of the essence!

SENATE TARGETS

Barbara Boxer (CA)
Christopher Dodd (CT)
Ted Kaufman (DE)
John Kerry (MA)
Benjamin Cardin (MD)
Carl Levin (MI)
Debbie Stabenow (MI)
Max Baucus (MT)
Kirsten Gillibrand (NY)
Charles Schumer (NY)
Sherrod Brown (OH)
Jeff Merkley (OR)
Robert Casey (PA)
Mark Warner (VA)
Jim Webb (VA)
Russ Feingold (WI)

WHAT TO DO WHEN YOU CALL:

To contact your Senator, please call the Senate switchboard at (202) 224-3121, tell them your state, and ask to speak to your Senator. When you are connected to your Senator’s office, ask for the staff member who works on Health and Human Services appropriations.

Whether you are talking to a person or a machine, you can be very brief and to the point. Tell them, “I am a constituent who supports appropriating an additional $2 million for the National Health Interview Survey.  I want Senator [NAME] to sign on to Senator Whitehouse’s letter and support LGBT data collection.  Please call Jordanna Davis in Senator Whitehouse’s office to sign on to his appropriations letter.”

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