The health care law goes into effect in January, but people can sign up beginning in October. The campaign to inform and enroll people has begun. I thought I’d focus on the health care law education/enrollment effort this summer, if you’d like to follow along. The group I’ll be following locally are national. They will work on the ground in 8 states where there are high numbers of uninsured and GOP-led opposition to the law, but they are just one piece of the effort. I know one of the organizers in NW Ohio so I’ll follow some national news and also tell you what this individual organizer is up to in Toledo and surrounding counties as best I can, my schedule permitting. My pal is a great and extremely hard-working organizer who has won three out of three of the Ohio campaigns he’s been involved with, but he’ll have to work under the insane national din without losing his mind, which I imagine will be the real challenge.
Ohio is a particularly heavy lift for organizers, because the GOP base (Tea Party) are blocking the Medicaid expansion over Governor Kasich’s support of the expansion and the Republican political appointees who head our state agencies have done nothing and will do nothing to educate on or implement the law. That means there’s a lot of uncertainty for people. As you know, “uncertainty” is a horrible state of affairs that must be avoided at all costs when we’re talking about Wall Street and the stock market, but is perfectly acceptable when we’re talking about Republicans deliberately creating chaos that directly impacts ordinary people and their lives
For background on the political state of play from the other side, rather than what might or might not be going on as far as enrollment/education in real life we’ll start nationally, with a look at what Republicans are planning:
Republican lawmakers say they anticipate a flood of questions in the coming months from constituents on the implementation of ObamaCare, which will pose a dilemma for the GOP.
People regularly call their representatives for help with Medicare, Social Security and other government programs. Yet, Republicans believe healthcare reform spells doom for the federal budget, private businesses and the U.S. healthcare system. They’re also enormously frustrated that the law has persevered through two elections and a Supreme Court challenge and believe a botched implementation could help build momentum for the repeal movement.
Some Republicans indicated to The Hill they will not assist constituents in navigating the law and obtaining benefits. Others said they would tell people to call the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).
“Given that we come from Kansas, it’s much easier to say, ‘Call your former governor,'” said Rep. Tim Huelskamp (R), referring to HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. “You say, ‘She’s the one. She’s responsible. She was your governor, elected twice, and now you reelected the president, but he picked her.'” Huelskamp said. “We know how to forward a phone call,” said Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah).
“I have two dedicated staff who deal with nothing, but ObamaCare and immigration problems,” he added. “I’m sure there will be an uptick in that, but all we can do is pass them back to the Obama administration. The ball’s in their court. They’re responsible for it.”
House leaders have organized a group known as HOAP — the House ObamaCare Accountability Project — to organize a messaging strategy against the law that will trickle down to constituents.
The group has an eye on August recess, when member town halls will inevitably turn to healthcare issues.
Republicans are confident that the government’s most ambitious undertaking in recent memory will collapse under its own weight.
Rep. George Miller (D-Calif.), who helped draft ObamaCare, called GOP inaction on educating constituents “outrageous.”
“For many families, this may be the first time they have access to real healthcare coverage. This can be a matter of life and death,” said Miller. “This is a real dereliction of duty for Republicans,” he added.
In other words, they have no plan to either inform constituents on the law or actually do anything towards improving health care with their own ideas, but they do have an elaborate plan – complete with catchy title (“HOAP”)- to sabotage the law politically. We should probably anticipate the same incredibly informative and unbiased Town Hall meetings on The Government Take-Over of Health Care this August that we saw in Death Panel Summer, run on a continuous loop on cable.