Share your Opinion
Op-eds are typically limited to 500 words or fewer. Each paper has its own policy, so search your paper’s website before you get started.
Your op-ed should state who you are, what your opinion is and why it matters. Your op-ed piece should communicate your personal struggle, hope and passion. Submitting an op-ed is the first step in getting your story out, but there are no guarantees that the story will be used. The more personally compelling, the better chance you’ll have at getting the op-ed editor’s attention. Stories involving children living with PH could be particularly captivating.
Here are some tips in writing your op-ed:
- Start with something personal
- Connect your story to what’s happening in the news now
- Keep your writing simple and your sentences short
- Be clear about what you want to accomplish
- Have a strong, personal close
- Know that you represent yourself, not the PH community or PHA
- Know that newspapers get dozens of op-ed submissions every day. If yours is not used, consider publishing it yourself on your own Facebook page or personal blog if you have one.
- Feel free to send your op-ed to PHA for consideration in PHANews or on our website, PHAssociation.org. Send it to communications@PHAssociation.org.
- You may also ask your newspaper to use your op-ed piece as a letter to the editor.
- While you may suggest a title for your op-ed article, know that newspapers write their own headlines.
- Newspapers have the right to copy edit your submission before publication.
Note: This is just a sample patient experience to give you an idea of what kind of details should be included in your op-ed and how your personal story needs to be linked to the current health care debate.
Patients with Chronic, Life-Threatening Diseases Push U.S. Senate to Retain Existing Protections
For years, doctors told me my shortness of breath was asthma. It wasn’t until I landed in the emergency room barely able to breathe that I learned that in fact, I have pulmonary hypertension or PH, a progressive, incurable life-threatening disease, sometimes called high blood pressure of the lungs.
This pre-existing condition is a fact of life for me. It’s also a matter of life or death. I had no health insurance when I learned I have PH. Medicaid Expansion covers the costs of my care and medication.
That’s why I’m making my voice heard. I’ve written to my senator and I’m asking everyone else to share my story.
I understand that at least the first proposed U.S. Senate health insurance bill included protections for people with pre-existing conditions. That’s great news. But for people like me who live with life-threatening diseases that in many cases keep us from working, any new law must not cut Medicaid coverage. It also has to include essential health benefit requirements and cannot allow lifetime benefit caps.
And most important for me, any new bill cannot discontinue and/or phase out Medicaid expansion or permit states to waive the federal mandate on the essential health benefits insurance companies must offer. Finally, the bill cannot allow insurers to charge older people more for their care.
I am part of a strong community of PH patients and caregivers who fight to raise awareness about the disease. Because the disease is progressive, the sooner patients are diagnosed, the better. PH, also known as the other high blood pressure affects women, men and children of all ages. There are 14 FDA-approved treatments for the disease that are helping patients live longer, better lives. Right now, my care and treatment are covered, thanks to the Affordable Care Act.
I urge my senator and others to forget the politics and remember that whether in sickness or health, we are all Americans with a right to live, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, something that for people like me depends on health care that is accessible and affordable.