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As a resident of Bakersfield, I had a sinking feeling when the phone rang Sunday evening and a recorded voice asked me to participate in a telephone "Town Hall" meeting about the Affordable Care Act/Obamacare.  (My "Congressman" is Kevin "Young Gun" McCarthy, and he's fond of putting together self-serving telephone town halls.)

I was pleasantly surprised.  They do seem to be doing a fairly good job here in California of at least trying to get the word out.

The call was originated by a group called California Calls ( which is apparently a coalition of grassroots organizations.  I'd been previously called, possibly by the same organization, and had politely interrupted the pro-ACA speech to let them know I was already quite aware of the law, was already covered by employer-provided insurance, and was glad to hear their efforts because friends of mine were almost certainly going to be saved by the expanded Medicaid coverage.

I got into the Town Hall too late to hear most of the presentation but stayed through about 45 minutes of the question-and-answer period.  I thought they did a great job of fielding questions--none of the questions seemed to be from Republican shills, so I think their targeting is probably pretty good.  One asked whether he could do better than his current Medicaid/Medicare coverage by going through the exchanges.  Answer:  Most likely not.

One of the moderators was up-front that he'd much rather have seen a public option or better yet  Medicare-for-all, but they were committed to making ACA work in California.  They interspersed answering questions with standard "push one for yes, two for no, etc" poll questions to define what audience they were reaching.

This area is extremely conservative and woefully misinformed on the ACA, with knee-jerk reactions to anything progressive in the least.  Which, of course, means they need Obamacare more than many others.

A hearing-impaired friend of mine was asking me on Facebook whether they had an option for folks who can't use a telephone, and I referred him to their online site.  I hope that folks like him are singled out for special efforts.    I also gave him and, of course.  By the way, they noted in the call that there are (of course) scams which have taken such webnames as "CoveredCalifornia" and "CACovered."

Originally posted to Randomfactor on Mon Sep 30, 2013 at 09:20 AM PDT.

Also republished by Los Angeles Kossacks and California politics.

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