Senator Mitch McConnell (R-Ky) and John Cornyn (R-Tex) have sent letters to major league sports organizations urging them not to cooperate with the President Obama’s marketing push to make all U.S. citizens aware that they can enroll in affordable health insurance for 2014. The letter from the Senators is nothing less than an act of subtle intimidation directed toward multi-million dollar sports franchises that have special anti-trust exemptions awarded through congress. Can you host a health care reform party at your home to push back against the organized opposition fighting to see the Affordable Care Act fail?
Health Care Reform Party at your home
Members of the Republican Party, the Tea Party and even some insurance companies are working to hinder the effective implementation of health care reform and sour public opinion on its merits. If organized professional sports don’t want to help spread the word to their fans that affordable, guarantee issue health insurance will be available for their fans then the millions of U.S. citizens that support health care insurance for all need to step up to the plate. While these organizations might be able to pour millions of dollars into ad campaigns to dissuade people from enrolling in health insurance through the state exchanges they can’t silence the voices and organizing of proponents that want to see their neighbors have access to quality health care.
Government might be silenced
If the federal and state governments don’t have the resources to help educate the public on the ACA because congress refuses to allocate money and they are effectively intimidating those organizations with which they have special legislative powers over, those of us who do support the new the health insurance market place need to undertake the challenge. The challenge is the education of our neighbors about the benefits of the ACA, how it will help them, how to enroll and what to expect.
Not all ad campaigns work
While many states like California will be starting outreach and education campaigns to reach millions of uninsured about the new program, some states may not be as organized or have the marketing material that resonates with the public. It will be incumbent upon folks like us to open are homes or speak at community events to help educate the public. In California the state health insurance exchange marketplace, Covered California, has awarded millions of dollars on grants for outreach and education. But what if those efforts are bungled or fail in their mission?
We only get one chance to get a hit
We only get one chance to make this work. There are no “do-overs”, repeats or mulligans if we fail to have a successful launch of the Affordable Care Act health insurance marketplaces. If healthcare reform is painted as a failure because of a combination of enrollment failures, obstruction from GOP and Tea Party groups, and bureaucratic ineptitude we won’t have another chance to correct the issues. There will be enough spineless Democrats that would vote with the GOP for repeal if it meant they would keep their seats during the next election.
Our voices won’t be silenced
I know some folks might hesitate to get involved because state and federal bureaucracies are good at setting up rules that dissuade participation. Governments like to have people go through endless training, get certified and take lots of tests before they can talk. I can assure you that neither Mitch McConnell nor John Cornyn have been through any training. If they can send intimidating letters to obstruct the implementation of the ACA, you and I can speak from a prepared outline to educate people about the ACA.
Perception is reality
We understand that the long term solution to health care can’t necessarily be crammed into the election cycles that congress uses to base all their decisions. Perception is reality. If politicians perceive that the electorate thinks health care reform has failed, even if it hasn’t, they will vote for repeal.
They hope for failure
Those of us who truly support healthcare reform can’t be held hostage by the nearsightedness of politicians or the rigidness of bureaucracies that aren’t flexible enough to respond in short time frames. It will be incumbent on us to facilitate the education and outreach about the state health insurance exchanges if government can’t or won’t. You may not like the Affordable Care Act, but working to obstruct its implementation and cause the program to fail is actively wasting the tax payer money that has already been invested in this important endeavor to keep the United States healthy.
Hosting a health care reform party
So what would a health care reform home party look like?
- Educate yourself about your own state’s efforts to implement the health insurance marketplace. Some states are letting the federal government run the exchange and others, like California, are setting up their own independent marketplace.
- Search out nonprofits in your community or state that are working to support health care reform.
- Find the literature, which will probably be from a website, about eligibility, enrollment, tax subsidies and the different plans offered to distribute at your gathering.
- Set a date and invite friends, family and neighbors over for a short presentation.
- Consider offering a short presentation at your church, temple, club or philanthropic organization you belong to.
- Inquire if anyone from the local or state organizations working to implement the health insurance exchanges can make a presentation or speak with you.
I’m not an expert
I guarantee you won’t have all the answers. Some of the questions asked in an on-line Facebook chat about Covered California illustrate the variety of different household scenarios that don’t have easy answers. Our job won’t be to enroll individuals and families, but to demystify the nature and operation of the state health insurance marketplaces. The mere fact that a fellow community member, such as yourself, took the time to learn about the new health insurance and share that knowledge is a powerful tool to easing negative perceptions about the ACA.
Obstruction and intimidation is their game plan
Because neither the House Republicans nor Senators have the votes to repeal the ACA they have decided to obstruct its implementation as much as possible. Their goal is to hobble the Health and Human Services Department from properly marketing the availability of guarantee issue health insurance to millions of Americans starting in 2014. The GOP hopes that lack of participation, confusion, and bureaucratic hurdles created by lack of funding will create a public relations aura that the ACA is a failure.
Main stream media is no friend
We know that the main stream media will do very little reporting when it comes to the smooth enrollment of households into health insurance plans that they can afford and make their families healthier. But if there are a few delays or snafus, that are bound to happen, print, radio, bloggers and TV will be all over the failure like a natural disaster. When these inevitable problems arise with opening up a new health insurance market place that puts consumers on an level playing field with the insurance companies those opposed to the ACA will jump up and down and cry like school boy, “See, I told you so, it won’t work.”
Consider your involvement
So I earnestly encourage you to consider opening your home or taking the challenge to speak at a local community event to educate people about the Affordable Care Act as the state exchanges gear up for enrollment in October. While you are not an expert, the issue of affordable health insurance and care for millions of Americans rises above the domain of government appointed representatives. Affordable health care for all is a community issue.
Is there help for planning and education?
If you need help I will do everything I can to get you the necessary information about the plans and enrollment issues for your state. There are plenty of resources and non-profit organizations willing to help educate people. But these advocates don’t always have the community resources to spread the good news about the new affordable health insurance.
Thank you for your consideration to lend your voice to push back against those with a vested interest in seeing that the ACA fails. You may not be a professional football player but you may help a family score a touch down with quality affordable health insurance to keep them healthy and productive for a strong America.