Jan. 12th, 2017

theferrett: (Meazel)

So the Republicans voted last night to show what the repeal of Obamacare (a.k.a the ACA) will look like, and it looks grim:

  • They’re getting rid of preexisting conditions, so insurance companies can drop you when you get sick;
  • They’re not allowing children to stay on their parents’ health care plans until they’re 26;
  • They’re getting rid of contraceptive coverage.

It is important to note at this point that they’re repealing the ACA with no replacement plan. They claim they’re going to put in a replacement at some point – but if you’re a conservative who believes this, I ask you, “Is now the point where you start trusting politicians?” (And they haven’t settled on a plan, which is because nobody can agree on a plan, which means that in the way of politicians they’ll repeal the ACA and then kick the replacement can down the road while innocents suffer.)

(And Trump will not veto the repeal if it passes. If you’d like to argue this, I will bet you $50, placed into escrow in a third party, that he will not. Put your money where your mouth is.)

The ACA hasn’t been repealed yet, they’ve just laid out the blueprint for how they intend to repeal it. ¬†You currently have 36 hours to call your Senator and save the good portions of the ACA. Yes, even if your Senator is a conservative.

Here’s how you stop that:

CALL, DO NOT EMAIL.
Politicians can ignore emails the way you do. They can’t ignore calls. Their staffers have to take the calls, which means their staff doesn’t get anything done while they’re handling calls, which means the Senator is far more likely to hear about how the office is slowing to a crawl because the ACA issue is jamming the lines.

In addition, most Senators don’t get that many calls; under normal circumstances, 15 people calling a day is *huge*. For an entire state. If you can get 50, that’s usually off the charts. So even one call can make a significant difference.

(For the record, I’ve called my very conservative Senator four times, and twice he’s reversed his position. In one instance, it was specifically mentioned that the call volume on the issue changed his mind.)

SAY YOU’RE A VOTER FROM YOUR TOWN.
Let them know you’re local. Calling Senators when you’re not a potential voter generally does diddly. You do not have to give your name, though you can if you want; they may ask you for your zip code.

HAVE A SCRIPT READY, IF YOU’RE SOCIALLY AWKWARD LIKE ME.
A good script is something like:

1) I’m disappointed in last night’s Affordable Health Care act vote;
2) Please do not repeal the ACA without a strong replacement (they’re going to repeal it, the idea is just to keep the parts that keep people alive);
3) If you have a preexisting condition or the ACA has helped your life in some way, talk about that and make it personal how your life (or the life of someone you love) depends on this;
4) I will not vote for any Senator who helps repeal the ACA without a strong replacement, either in the primary or the general election.

You’re free to go on, if you like, but be polite. They kind of have to listen. In my experience, they’ll generally say they’ll pass the message onto the Senator, and hang up. But if you want to be that person who the office groans when they have to handle them – that polite-but-firm person who will be heard – then hey! You can contribute to the office gossip that people are *really* concerned about this ACA issue, which is good in politics.

CALL YOUR SENATORS, NOT YOUR REPRESENTATIVES.
That means you have to make a maximum of two calls, which will take ten minutes max. (Unless your Senator’s line is already clogged, in which case, keep calling.)

You can generally look up your senator by using Who Is My Representative, but if not you’ll find a phone number on their website. Calling the local number is generally viewed to be slightly better.

And here’s the trick: If you’re a conservative who’s opposed to mandating that insurers must be able to insure people with preexisting conditions (for some reason), flip the script and call as well. This is a republic, and you deserve to have your voice heard.

That said, I fully expect the ACA will be repealed without a replacement, and politicians won’t bother to replace one for years, if ever. If you don’t like that very real fact, then call now. The vote’s going up very soon. You have until Friday evening to get your calls in.

Call now.

TWO EDITS:

1) Some people are suggesting calling the “pivot” Senators who live outside your state. As a former Congressional staffer¬†told me:

“If someone is not a constituent (and I worked for a progressive D who was very welcoming to all) they will politely take your info and toss it. Their salaries are paid by their district and that is where their focus has to be. That is why it is so very important to call *your* representative and voice your concerns.”

Calling the Senators you don’t vote for is wasting your time – if you want to do it, fine, but call your home Senators first.

2) Other people are asking, “Is it worth calling my Senators if they’re already supporting the ACA?” My response is, “Telling the Dems that this is important helps make them realize their next election hinges on satisfying the liberals, not the conservatives.”

Cross-posted from Ferrett's Real Blog.

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