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President Barack Obama talks with House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi following a meeting with Democratic Leadership in the Oval Office, July 11, 2012. At left, Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin talks with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
Now that HealthCare.gov is working, getting as many enrollments as possible is the top priority. So is working to dispel some of the lingering bad feelings about the law stemming from the disastrous roll-out of the web site. To those ends, President Obama and congressional Democrats are stepping up what will be a sustained PR offensive. The efforts will tout the benefits of the law, but also home in on how Republicans want to take those benefits away.
As part of that political counteroffensive, which began this week, Democratic congresswomen challenged Republicans to present an alternative that would provide free preventive health services for the 105 million Americans who have already received them under the law. At the same time, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee singled out about 60 House Republicans, accusing them of plotting to take away immunizations for children, cancer screenings and mammograms. [...]

Three weeks ago, House Democratic “strike teams” initiated a daily morning conference call to go over health care messages. On Wednesday, more than 40 congressional aides, including Senate aides and administration officials, had joined.

House Democrats have begun passing along positive stories in their districts — of constituents obtaining insurance for the first time and gaining access to preventive care — during coordinated morning speeches that have become dueling anecdotes from the health care wars. On Thursday, members will focus on pre-existing conditions; next week, the theme is Medicaid expansion.

At least one Republican, Rep.Scott Rigell of Virginia, is backing away from repeal, acknowledging that the law is helping some people and it's probably too late for repeal, saying at this point the law needs "more of a course change than a course reversal." That's one lone Republican—there's a raft of rabid would-be repealers among House Republicans who probably don't agree, and probably won't stop looking for some way, any way to repeal the law. But now that the horror stories are fading and enrollments are surging, those people will be even easier to marginalize.

They'll be a lot easier to marginalize in November if the system has enrolled the 7 million experts say it needs to be on a sustainable footing. That makes this big push from Democrats all the more critical.

Originally posted to Joan McCarter on Thu Dec 05, 2013 at 08:41 AM PST.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (38+ / 0-)

    "The NSA’s capability at any time could be turned around on the American people, and no American would have any privacy left, such is the capability to monitor everything. [...] There would be no place to hide."--Frank Church

    by Joan McCarter on Thu Dec 05, 2013 at 08:41:12 AM PST

  •  Ron Fournier is steaming mad... (17+ / 0-)

    He finds this whole effort to get people enrolled in Obamacare offensive.

  •  Scott Rigell it should be noted (14+ / 0-)

    beat a nobody hedge fund guy by 53.8% to 46.2%.

    The district swung D a few cycles ago whey Glenn Nye beat Thelma Drake.  It has a high concentration of military personnel who may be a bit fed up with the shut down and tea bagging nut sacks in DC.

    In other words rip for the picking.  

    This is your world These are your people You can live for yourself today Or help build tomorrow for everyone -8.75, -8.00

    by DisNoir36 on Thu Dec 05, 2013 at 08:49:54 AM PST

  •  Love it when Dems go on the offence (23+ / 0-)
    accusing them of plotting to take away immunizations for children, cancer screenings and mammograms
    This is a bread and butter issue for vulnerable Americans: Dems need to run on ACA in 2014 to have any chance at the House.

    Shall we go? Yes, let's go.

    by whenwego on Thu Dec 05, 2013 at 08:53:39 AM PST

    •  Asking Republicans "Where's your plan?" Yeah. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      whenwego, JBraden

      About f***ing time. About 3 1/2 years late to start hammering them about the 'plans' the Republicans kept saying they had.

      But better late than never. Ask them "Which one was it that they pushed through committee and passed the House in the last few 3 years?" I can't recall it myself...

      Come to think of it, they've had 50 years to come up with something since the success of Medicare, the last federal health initiative.

  •  Good! A bit late, maybe, but (13+ / 0-)

    that just means it will peak closer to the MidTerm.
    Let's see if we can return Nancy to the Speaker's chair.

    If I ran this circus, things would be DIFFERENT!

    by CwV on Thu Dec 05, 2013 at 09:01:44 AM PST

    •  Yeah--what took them so long (13+ / 0-)

      When the website problems emerged, they joined in the "catastrophe" rhetoric (or debacle, disaster, or whatever apocalyptic hyperbole that ACA opponents were throwing out there_.  What catastrophe? --it was a glitchy website.  Yes it needed to be fixed, but the rollout of new technology is always riddled with problems.  Testing doesn't come close to real world conditions. Even if you want to say they should have done better, it's not a "health care catastrophe."

      You know what is a catastrophe?--going broke because you couldn't get health insurance, or dying because you couldn't get treated.  

      Instead of saying "maybe Obamacare should be delayed" like many cowed Democratic congresspeople said, they should have pointed out that words actually mean something.  

      A word like "catastrophe" should be reserved for things like the failure to respond to Katrina victims, going to war with faulty intelligence. You know, things where people die or suffer unnecessarily from consequences of negligence.  Waiting online for a bit too long, or having to log in multiple times, that's a nuisance, but a catastrophe?--not even close.

       

      •  True this^^^^ (5+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        whenwego, ybruti, TofG, Matt Z, ColoTim

        I'm digging myself out of the hole after coming way too close to bankruptcy because of my medical expenses. I save more money every year because the gap in Medicare Part D is closing, and 2014 looks much brighter with decreased plan payments (I'm finally eligible for choices) and the gap closing even more.
        There are too many things I love about the ACA to pick just one, but OUR biggest success is enabling millions to have basic coverage so that they're not choosing between food/gas and a huge co-pay.  

        Still FIRED UP!

        Reach out your hand if your cup be empty, If your cup is full may it be again

        by VPofKarma on Thu Dec 05, 2013 at 10:18:08 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  And they should reframe it... (0+ / 0-)

        Dems and Obama need to keep calling it the Affordable Care Act, not Obamacare. I keep reading that polls show that people "hate" Obamacare, but like the Affordable Care Act, because they don't know they are the same thing.

        Life's a dance you learn as you go; sometimes you lead, sometimes you follow.

        by gloriasb on Thu Dec 05, 2013 at 11:27:26 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  True, yet... (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          catilinus

          Remember, the teabaggers began calling it Obamacare precisely to link what will become a wildly popular and successful program to Obama just for that reason. Educating the public that they are one and the same should be a goal of everyone who wants to see it succeed.

          Disassociating the ACA from the term Obamacare simply sets the stage for the year 2030, when the crazy people oppose it now will be hollering about the guvmint needing to keep its hands off of their 'Reagan-care'.

  •  Dems are getting the message: stay on message and (15+ / 0-)

    produce the positive, and portray the GOP as negative, and whiners with NO agenda. FORWARD Dems!!!

    •  Covered California has started a campaign today (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ColoTim, Laurel in CA

      Relatives and Friends Asked to Assist Young Adults with Enrolling in Health Care Coverage Through Covered California to encourage relatives and friends to "give the gift of health." They are particularly targeting mothers and grandmothers to encourage young adults to enroll. "Moms know you are healthy until you are not. So, be sure your loved ones are covered.” The campaign points out:

      About 1.8 million Californians between the ages of 18 and 29 are eligible to purchase insurance through the exchange or will likely qualify for no-cost or low-cost Medi-Cal.
      The campaign also suggests that a gift of a month's premium might be appreciated.

      The spirit of liberty is the spirit which is not too sure that it is right. -- Judge Learned Hand, May 21, 1944

      by ybruti on Thu Dec 05, 2013 at 11:52:49 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  That kind of effort could reap huge benefits (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        ybruti

        in the states like Texas and Missouri (to pick two Rachel Maddow made examples of last night) where the navigators face jail time and fines for helping people figure out what the differences are between the health plans.  I dare Missouri to try and fine or put into prison a mother who helps their son or daughter get health care.

  •  You lost me. (0+ / 0-)

    7 million experts?

    •  That's a reference to the supposed 7 million (7+ / 0-)

      enrollees needed by March 2014 to sustain the premium rates for 2015, but it's wrong.  That number was just a guess by the Congressional Budget Office of how many might sign up, but that was before the 2-month delay in the website functioning. Here's a quote (11/13/13) from John McDonough, the author of Inside Health Reform, a great book about the ACA and the process by which it was enacted:

      ... the "projection" of 7 million enrollees by March 2014 -- that was the estimate of the Congressional Budget Office based on their calculation of how many enrollees would sign up.  It was not a statement of how many "had to" sign up or else the law would fail.  It was the CBO's good faith projection of how many they thought likely to sign up.  I have huge respect and appreciation for CBO's estimate, and recognition that CBO's numbers are usually wrong. http://www.boston.com/...
      A more important number is the mix of ages and healthy/unhealthy people who purchase insurance through the exchanges.

      The spirit of liberty is the spirit which is not too sure that it is right. -- Judge Learned Hand, May 21, 1944

      by ybruti on Thu Dec 05, 2013 at 09:43:50 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  We should all do it. (14+ / 0-)

    The best way to defend the ACA is to accuse opponents of taking away specific benefits - itemize them.  Use numbers.  On top of that, piggyback the idiocy of GOP governors who refused Medicaid expansion and what they are costing their states in dollars and uninsured children.

    The most violent element in society is ignorance.

    by Mr MadAsHell on Thu Dec 05, 2013 at 09:12:41 AM PST

  •  How about that. A smart, tough Democratic policy (6+ / 0-)

    attack. Now, will they sustain it or wimpily ease off from fear of shocking the media by facing up to Republicans?

  •  Start by not calling it a "disaster" any more (12+ / 0-)
    So is working to dispel some of the lingering bad feelings about the law stemming from the disastrous roll-out of the web site
    What would change if the quoted sentence simply read:
    So is working to dispel some of the lingering bad feelings about the law stemming from the roll-out of the web site
    The "disaster", such as it was, is over. It doesn't need to be constantly brought up, especially not by our side.

    "He who fights monsters should see to it that he himself does not become a monster. And if you gaze for long into an abyss, the abyss gazes also into you."

    by Hayate Yagami on Thu Dec 05, 2013 at 09:20:58 AM PST

  •  Of course this is the smart thing to do (5+ / 0-)

    But it's fucking mind-boggling that apparently the Dems had no such aggressive communications campaign planned until the roll-out clusterfuck happened. It's as though they expected that a smooth roll-out would have meant the GOP would suddenly start throwing roses at Obama, instead of doing what Republicans ALWAYS do: lie and attack, attack and lie, regardless of the issue at hand.

    As usual, Dems never initiate anything. They're perpetually stuck in reaction mode, always waiting to be hit in the face by the GOPers before they summon up the gumption to actually do anything to advance their own cause.

    General George McClellan would have found today's Democratic Party very comfortable.

  •  Good news: Robert Ford opposes Obamacare (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    a2nite, TofG, shoeless, whenwego, Matt Z

    Canada's crackhead mayor opposes all public-funded healthcare

    •  Think there's any chance there is reincarnation (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      shoeless, ColoTim

      and Chris Farley has come back as Robert Ford and then decided to make a movie about a mayor (from Canada!) who is cool with using crack, pushes over and past women legislators, falls down throwing footballs, etc.? But who would buy the premise, eh? Seems like excessive Canada bashing.

  •  Seven million (7+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TofG, ferg, tb mare, Aquarius40, ybruti, Matt Z, JBraden
    the system has enrolled the 7 million experts say it needs to be on a sustainable footing.
    That's not what experts are saying. That's what the CBO estimated. The insurance part of the system needs a good mix of subscribers including healthy subscribers, but the ACA has provisions (risk corridors) to deal with temporary imbalances in subscriber mix as the exchanges come up to speed in the next three years.
  •  I think that pic is from 2011 when Pelosi was (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TofG, shoeless

    horrified Obama completed his 'grand bargain' with Boehner, which thankfully fell apart.

  •  "HealthCare.gov is working" <--- Ummm...... (0+ / 0-)

    Sorry to say, but it's not working for me.  Hopefully, I am the exception, but my attempt to enroll has deadended with the online chat representative suggesting I print and fill out the paper forms, after spending quite a while filling in the online forms.

    •  So what? (0+ / 0-)

      I'm sorry to hear that you're having trouble with the website, but there are other ways to get enrolled. Try the phone call route, if you haven't already. Not everything has to be done via the internet.  

      Life's a dance you learn as you go; sometimes you lead, sometimes you follow.

      by gloriasb on Thu Dec 05, 2013 at 11:29:57 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Delete your application and start over. (0+ / 0-)

      It's a new button that is available. It got rid of most of my problems.

      "You can't write good satirical fiction in America because reality will quickly outdo anything you might invent." - Philip Roth

      by jancw on Thu Dec 05, 2013 at 12:00:07 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  An interesting data point from Kentucky... (8+ / 0-)

    When last I checked the Kynect statistics (two weeks ago), enrollments in qualified health plans stood at 10,800 and 27% of those enrolled (2916) were 35 years of age or younger.

    As of 11/26/13, enrollments number 11,775, which might not seem a significant increase - but 41% of all enrollees are 35 or younger.  That's 4828 of total enrollees.

    Given that the overall increase was only 975, an increase of more than 1900 in the 35-and-under demographic would seem to indicate that the pipeline of "eligible for subsidy but haven't chosen a plan" folks is heavily tilted toward younger participants.

    Now, it could just be that younger folks are more comfortable navigating the process online, and/or that older folks are waiting for someone to help them through the steps.  However, given the importance of the younger demographic to the overall success of the ACA, I'm VERY pleased to see that more than 40% of Kentucky's enrollees are in that group.

    The word "parent" is supposed to be a VERB, people...

    by wesmorgan1 on Thu Dec 05, 2013 at 09:44:16 AM PST

  •  I think another accomplishment by Obama (8+ / 0-)

    is Democrats are going to have to finally run as Democrats.  After the ACA, the end of DADT, pushing for immigration reform, and a minimum wage increase, you either run with the president, or you run as a Republican.  He hasn't really left Democrats with much room to run as a weak Republican.

    "Harass us, because we really do pay attention. Look at who's on the ballot, and vote for the candidate you agree with the most. The next time, you get better choices." - Barney Frank

    by anonevent on Thu Dec 05, 2013 at 09:44:27 AM PST

  •  This is going to be interesting (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ybruti, TofG

    I am really scratching my head as to a Law (far reaching) implemented, that was this gigantic and had the potential to completely leave one portion of a Party's constituency (all those that think well some day lower taxes might help me, "I'm white") that really mattered, shook perception. (Will it).

    I consider that a sizeable portion of the Republican anti Obamacare are either a. Not themselves familiar with the import of Health Care b. Will have small businesses receiving checks if they already have not (80%) c. will see little/no affect.

    I don't know if it's I can't articulate my thought or that should the exchanges be managed well (still of great import) I really cannot imagine having had a pre-existing condition, watching fox news, lamenting the passage, realizing, wait I don't have to pay hundreds/thousands a month? I'd have to think that a thought carries forward/perception?

    I mean generally the R's could trump up and nit-pick, but they pushed all their chips in. They lost and the government went back to work. They still take this stance. Without an absolute lack of oversite (which I am sure Obama realizes) I cannot see where this is going to leave them. That was their plan. Say it's terrible then hope it doesn't work (try to take apart otherwise?).

    I am sorry this is James Joycian but the success just highlights to me I guess an extremism we, or I got numb to. How can you trust a party telling you they will kill your mother (when you maybe go to legal aide and explain "no it's just a provision making state laws for advanced directives ok") and have just saved a ton of money.

    I don't like this generalization, except that quite frankly I can point blank ask a lot of people I know and they will admit; that the Republican party, and it's voters do not care about other people. Is that what they have left. I have to imagine some people deferred their own critical though and will wonder "wait I like not worrying about __ and health care, wtf?".

    Has there (or perhaps this will be) a Waterloo for the Mainstream Media and the anachronistic journalism that reports what people say not the accuracy or any think relevant to the truth. The Mainstream Media will continue to say R- says terrible. D (smiling) ___. I suppose Bush v. Gore could've and should've, except Gore chose a path to create stability (ie the media should've said Gore won, the SCOTUS is deciding this election, and people all know it to an extent).

    Perhaps health/pocket-book may be more important creating a serious dent in how not simple deference that we have seen for way, way too long? Does that sound too optimisic. I am just thinking out loud. I just cannot imagine being barely above minimum wage having a child with say Asthma. Living in the South. Having cheered on the shut-down. Sitting down and watching Fox. Hearing how terrible I am for being a success story.

    Can this please expose not just the tea-party, but the lack of truthful debate.  God I hope the exchanges are run well and someone does a thoughtful study/ writes a book to some acclaim about this whole debacle after people realize they like Health. That is a book showing public opinion basically flip except to ppl that will never care, and I wonder to what extent people question all information, seek new sources, blasts what we are told is "journalism". Maybe a color-booking for those that don't get the intellectual insincerity.

    Sorry I digress. I just never though about it. It's not an issue like "yeah it's been 20 years gay marriages are fine", "actually medical marijuana helped my father with Crohn's disease I might re-think". It's going to be, wait, so everything the Media told me that my rep told me was leading me down a path where I might not be able to afford my Kid's education, I am watching MSNBC tomorrow.

    Is all they have left unleashing a disease and blaming the ACA for not stopping it? Touting those outliers that got upped some and just confusion upon confusion (but you can look at the website without your red-neck friends knowing?)

    God this all just shows how much the idea of Leviathan, Social Contract has eroded. I give up my freedom to do whatever for your protection. You put in place licenses that give my (our the people, we own them right?) airwaives that I watch. People spend money to keep me from actually letting my government do what I am a citizen in the first place.

    I gotta stop. Sorry, it's actually making me be in disbelief I hope to god the exchanges are well managed.

  •  I've given quite a bit of thought to (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    VPofKarma, whenwego, ybruti, JBraden

    why it is that Republicans are willing to sacrifice their constituents' health and even their lives in their drive to repeal Obamacare, refuse Medicaid expansion, and put roadblocks up to keep the law from working.  I think that there are two fundamental explanations:

    ~they want the black guy, who's also a Democrat, in the White House to fail and no price is too steep to pay.

    ~they think the law will help despised brown people, both American born and immigrants, and they don't want that.

    While there are also some GOP-ers who are simply doing the bidding of the big business people who bankroll their campaigns, but I don't think that's enough to shield them against the anger of constituents whom they are allowing to go bankrupt or die for lack of medical care.  The two reasons listed above are those they can use to convince said constituents that the price they'll have to pay is worth it.

    Despicable people.

    "It ain't right, Atticus," said Jem. "No, son, it ain't right." --Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird

    by SottoVoce on Thu Dec 05, 2013 at 10:06:11 AM PST

    •  Many of the ObamaCare complaints (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      True North, ybruti, TofG

      I read are from people that don't want THEIR tax money to benefit anything they might disagree with, or won't personally use.  Sometimes I can't believe the stupidity--as if they always had choices when it came to healthcare coverage in their group plan (assuming they ever had health insurance via employer).  
      I told a woman (customer) at the pharmacy that the ACA will go a long way making Americans healthier, and I appreciate that I won't be exposed to so many GERMS.  That explanation worked for her, basic as it sounded.

      Reach out your hand if your cup be empty, If your cup is full may it be again

      by VPofKarma on Thu Dec 05, 2013 at 10:31:57 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Help Please (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    whenwego, TofG

    Please help us put pressure on our Governor (Robert Bentley) to expand Medicaid (please use the phone number) Phone 334.242.7100 or fax   334.353.0004 http://governor.alabama.gov/...   Please support the citizens of Ala. (Medicaid expansion) please sign the petition http://www.crumpton2014.com/...

    Thank you

  •  I actually enrolled last night, but I don't (6+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    whenwego, True North, Witgren, ybruti, TofG, JBraden

    qualify for any subsidies or anything. As a small business owner, and my two partners already covered, was just little ol' me who had no health insurance, and I make pretty good money. Last year, this time, I decided to see what it would cost me before ACA kicked in, was a quote from Humana here in Texas for $1600 a month, almost as much as I pay in taxes per month. This was due to my youngest and I's pre-existing conditions.

    Last night, I went to healthcare.gov, and got to see the plans in my county, and make a pretty good decision. The plan I signed up for is BCBS but has better coverage than that original Humana plan and half the cost. But I had a question on their dental plans, so I gave a call to BCBS to make sure I picked the right one, and I told the lady my story, and she said, "thank you! I rarely get to hear the positive side of this, and it's good to have a great story like this!"

    It doesn't hurt to let the insurers themselves know what we think either  :)

    It is every person's obligation to put back into the world at least the equivalent of what they takes out of it. - Albert Einstein (edited for modern times to include everyone by me!)

    by LeftieIndie on Thu Dec 05, 2013 at 10:21:17 AM PST

  •  The non-repeal Republican is in a purple state (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    True North, TofG

    I will be more enthused about Republicans seeing the light when those NOT calling for repeal are in not in "purple" states (let alone not in blue states). Purple state Virginia recently sent a message at the polls by electing some Democrats and some politicians in that state have apparently noticed the need to appear moderate. Let's see if "forget about repealing" becomes more widespread outside of purple/blue states.

    Ginny Mayer, Ph.D. Democrat CA State Senate Candidate - SD-35 (Orange County)

    by Ginny Mayer on Thu Dec 05, 2013 at 10:29:15 AM PST

  •  Rope-a-dope: Dems vs. the GOP (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    True North, TofG

    I think waiting to roll out their big counter offensive until millions of people had a chance to see up close and personal exactly what Obamacare does for them was a brilliant rope-a-dope strategy for the Democrats.

    It leaves every single GOPer fully exposed as liars and shills for health insurers and/or the Koch Brothers.

  •  My Prediction: ACA Not a Repub Issue in 2014 (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ybruti, TofG, JBraden

    Even though Reince has said he wants to tattoo the ACA on foreheads of Dems in 2014, I'll bet you dollars to donut holes that the ACA is the last thing the Repubs are going to want to discuss come November.

    Dems, however, are going to serve up a big helping of "I told you so" and "if you want Medicaid expansion in your state you need to elect Dems to the governors' mansions and state houses" and "Dems have solutions for jobs, infrastructure, etc. if you'll just get the Roadblocking Republicans out of the way."

    R = Roadblocks
    D = Doers

  •  in radio interview with 'navigator' (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ybruti

    in Tucson, the navigator said he had sign up THREE people from Oct to last weekend, and  something like  6-13 since.

    that is dismal. WTF, is this a paid navigator? where are they? they sure aren't traveling to the rural towns or making any noise as to who they are and where to find them.

    ACA needs a ground game . I'm a huge supporter, i AM aware of the obstacles the navigators have faced, etc., but the biggest blunder i see with the rollout was  the seeming dependence on internet and lack of person power  , even volunteer person power in a 'boots in the community'  effort.

    at tax time we have volunteer tax help at libraries , malls, stores, and schools. why not some ACA push?

    it's not to late. No more 'back on our heels ' posture. would love to see our leaders on every level lean into it with some passion and move the process into the community.

    •  Trained volunteers are helping students at (0+ / 0-)

      Fresno State university today: http://www.fresnobee.com/...  
      A notice about the 6-hour event was in the local paper, along with information about the needed documentation. The sponsors included the Fresno County Department of Social Services, the California State University Health Insurance Education Project, the Fresno County Public Library, and Community Partners of Fresno County.

      The spirit of liberty is the spirit which is not too sure that it is right. -- Judge Learned Hand, May 21, 1944

      by ybruti on Thu Dec 05, 2013 at 12:01:34 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Help (0+ / 0-)

    Please help us put pressure on our Governor (Robert Bentley) to expand Medicaid (please use the phone number) Phone 334.242.7100 or fax   334.353.0004 http://governor.alabama.gov/...   Please support the citizens of Ala. (Medicaid expansion) please sign the petition http://www.crumpton2014.com/...

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