As mentioned two days ago, GOP reps face a tough dilemma between serving their constituents and hating the Affordable Care Act like it shot their dog. At the same time the pary as a whole needs the ACA to fail in every possible way, a lot of single Reps will have a hard time with re-election if people see them playing political games with the health and livelihood of individual constituents. I can think of several terrible Republicans at the Senate level, Jesse Helms and Rick Santorum being two, who stayed afloat not in small part due to a reputation for great constituent service.
There are three ways that a GOP Rep can go with this. Some of them will talk tough to the press but do their job like a grownup when real constituents call with real problems to address. Some other faction, most I would guess, will punt either by not answering or passing the caller off to HHS. Most of all we need to keep an eye out for the fabricators, liars and true believers whose staff genuinely believe the pap in the morning blast fax from Glenn Beck.
October is still some time off, so let’s start with questions that everyone should know. Say that I have a pre-existing condition and cannot get an individual market plan for any price. Can I buy one in October? How would I do that? The correct answers are yes and it depends on the state; in most cases we do not know the full details yet. If you feel like testing their bad faith, tell them you heard there will be death panels. I will not offer a script because you should really use your own words for this. Staffers’ interest often ratchets way down when they start hearing the same wording twice. Try being polite but a little slow and ask for clarification when possible.
Many thanks to readers for offering links to the excellent summary of the ACA from the Kaiser Family Foundation. You can find a lot of useful questions, no doubt including some that are relevant to your own situation, at their FAQ.
Does that sound good? Yes? Now make it happen. One call won’t change the world but a lot of calls to the right people at the right time can move mountains. Trust me on this.