Navigating a new Congress: Congressional “Cheat Sheet”

Navigating a new Congress: Congressional “Cheat Sheet”

By: Allen Pinn, Coordinator, Policy

On January 7, 2023, the 118th Congress was sworn into office marking the beginning of a new legislative cycle. With the start of a new legislative calendar, patient advocates can continue their efforts in advancing health care legislation that transforms the lives of patients and caregivers. The National Health Council (NHC) has established its priorities for the 118th Congress through its policy matrix, which includes several components including: health care costs, patients’ access to care, medical innovation, and mental/behavioral health. The entire Congress has received a welcome message from the NHC, and we have begun to meet with new Committee leadership and other key offices.

The NHC has compiled a “cheat sheet” for patient advocates to keep in mind when engaging with congressional members and staff. This “cheat sheet” was crafted by the NHC’s policy team, which has decades of expertise in health care advocacy.

The steps outlined in the “cheat sheet” are as follows: 

  • Prioritize which members most need to hear from you and your grassroots advocates
  • Develop an educational one-page resource with key priorities and a specific action plan
  • Deliver introductory information to the entirety of the Congress
  • Request meetings with the member offices that you prioritized
  • Develop a regular follow-up communication schedule with staff and members
  • Create an informational briefing on a topic when newer staff are looking for information

Given the makeup of the 118th Congress and the fact that the federal government has divided power between Democrats and Republicans, it is vital that patient advocates use all the tools at their disposal to bypass congressional gridlock.

A more detailed guide is available to NHC members. If members want to sharpen their advocacy approach, please contact Eric Gascho, Senior Vice President of Policy and Government Affairs, at