My Civic Workout: Health Care: Never Gonna Give It Up

Health Care: Never Gonna Give It Up


It’s crunch time on health care. The Senate may vote as soon as this Thursday [UPDATE: THE VOTE HAS BEEN POSTPONED] on a cruel, monstrous bill that will defund Medicaid (leaving our grandparents without the nursing home care they need), cost 15 million people their health insurance next year alone, and make sure a newborn with a heart condition would be left to die if his family couldn’t pay millions of dollars for surgery. Like Smokey says, only you can prevent forest fires.



5-Minute Workout

This is an all-hands-on-deck situation, so for step one, call, text, or email a friend and remind them to call their senators. Try to think of someone who has a Republican senator who’s expressed concerns about the current bill.

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10-Minute Workout

Call your own senators. This can be as simple as saying “Hi, I’m (NAME) calling from (CITY, ZIP). The Senate health care bill is terrible for (STATE), and I hope the Senator will do everything possible to oppose it.” What, your senators are Democrats who are already against the bill? Calls are useful for creating momentum and providing hard evidence for lawmakers fighting the bill to show that they have a mandate from constituents, so pick up that phone. Bonus: Create a daily calendar alert or put “call my Senators” on your daily to-do list to commit yourself to calling every day until the Senate vote.

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30-Minute Workout

Do you have a pre-existing condition? Does someone you love count on Medicaid? Write a short letter and send it to your local newspaper. Make sure to reference an article the newspaper has run recently about the health care bill. Following up by calling your newspaper about the status of your letter will increase your chances of publication. Post your (hopefully published!) letter on social media and tag @mycivicworkout.

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Second Wind

Does calling Congress actually work? Kathryn Schulz takes a close look in the New Yorker:

“Last month, Senator Cory Gardner, a Colorado Republican, got three thousand calls in one night. Senator Maria Cantwell, a Washington Democrat, got thirty-one thousand in three weeks. Last year, in a fourteen-day period in January, Senator Bob Casey, a Pennsylvania Democrat, got a thousand pieces of mail on the subject of education; this year, during that same period, he got forty-five thousand. Compared with 2016, his over-all constituent correspondence shot up nine hundred per cent. Members of Congress claim that, Senate-wide, the call volume for the week of January 30, 2017, more than doubled the previous record; on average, during that week, the Senate got 1.5 million calls a day. Three of those days—January 31st, February 1st, and February 2nd—were the busiest in the history of the Capitol switchboard.”



Fitness Is Always Easier with a Friend

You already texted a friend; why not text a few more and have a calling party? Get together, leave messages for Congress, and have dinner or drinks. This works just as well over video chat as in real life.

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