Have you called your Congressmen to tell them what you think about the health care reform bill? Do the ones who voted for health care know that you support them? Do the ones that have been dithering this entire time know that you are disappointed with them?
Right now, Congressional Democrats are in a panic. The loss of the seat in Massachusetts has got them scared. The calculus so far from there point of view is that the crazy people opposing health care reform kept calling, and the crazy people opposing health care reform went to the polls and voted a Republican in office. Because of this, Democrats are wavering. If we don't stop this slide, nothing will get done.
Why call? As Tim F. at Balloon Juice says, Email has no impact. "The only reason they don't wipe their asses with email is that printing it would cost too much." Also, the teabaggers have been calling and screaming at their reps since Obama took office. They need to hear from us, those who support what they are doing.
Now that you hopefully want to call, what do you tell them?
As it's been discussed here and here, the most straightforward thing to do is to have the House pass the Senate bill and
then fix it either at the same time or right after - the first choice is better. Does this suck? Yes. Not only do we have a flawed bill, but it totally screws up the relationship between the chambers. But, as Jed points out, the conversation changes if we pass it. When we talk about health care in the future, we will be talking about the health care that everyone has, and how to make it better, not about whether everyone deserves health care.
You can reach the House and Senate switchboard at (202) 224-3121. The operators will switch you to the Congressperson you wish to talk to.
Some recommendations from Tim's how-to-call page:
- Call. Email will not cut it.
- You are their boss. They need to know what you think.
- Give them your zip or town you live in.
- Tell them what you are going to do if they pass it, as well as what you will do if they don't.
When you call your Representative, let him or her know that you understand they are getting crapped upon by the Senate, and that the Senate is doing it to everyone. But let them know that sometimes you have to hold your nose and do the right thing even when other people are being asses.
I am represented by three Rs - Cornyn, Hutchinson, and Hall - so my calls don't mean much. But here's my deal: Feel free to tell your Congressperson that people you know will contribute to their campaign if they vote to pass health care reform. Post their names here and I will contribute.
Update: I want to impress upon you that you should call your Senator(s) as well as your Representative. The Senate is still a part of this; you will never get the House Dems to go along with anything unless they can trust that the Senate will do what is necessary to get things passed. If the Senate keeps wavering, it is all over.