Democrats Welcome Tea Party Protesters Into Their Offices To Discuss Health CareMar 16th, 2010 | By Main Contributor | Category: Health Care
Tea Party protesters are headed to Washington today to voice what many in the group consider their last chance to protest against sweeping changes in the health care system. Democrats in the House and Senate were encouraged by their leadership to have meetings with the protesters to answer any questions that they might have about health care. Below is a portion of the email that Democrats received encouraging them to meet with the protesters.
Many polls have been conducted that show most people are in favor of all of the reform changes that are included in the health care bill, but they oppose the bill because of misinformation that the bill is a “government takeover” or that it includes “death panels.” Once these myths have been addressed and voters learn about the actual language in the bill the polls shows a net increase in approval. Democrats believe having an honest and open debate about the merits of the bill and confronting the misinformation will ultimately lead to greater public approval, even among the people currently most opposed.
1. Be prepared. Activists are expected to begin arriving around 9am and they have been given instructions to wait in your office until they can have a meeting. Please have an orderly process and enough staff and interns to welcome what could be a very large number of visitors throughout the day:
· Have staff and/or Member time set-aside to visit with attendees in small groups;
· Ask for extra chairs or seating to be brought to your office or the hall in case there are seniors or disabled visitors that need to be accommodated;
· Consider having some light snacks, H2O, and coffee available;
· Ask visitors to leave all signs and banners outside the office.
3. Listen and communicate in small groups:
· As we learned in August, small groups are typically the best venue for exchanges on this complicated topic.
· Many of the conservative activists are not opposing the actual provisions in the bill, but are instead reacting to a caricature of the reform bill presented by right-wing media outlets. In fact, many conservative and GOP ideas and concerns are addressed in the legislation:
· Reduces the deficit;
· Cracks down on Medicare waste, fraud, and abuse;
· Provides historic tax credit for small businesses and individuals to purchase health insurance;
· Allows consumers to shop for health insurance across state lines via multi-state compacts;
· Inaugurates medical malpractice reforms, (an area where the GOP failed to take any action when in charge of Congress for 12 years).
· Also, don’t assume common myths about this bill have been debunked. Be prepared to explain that there are no death panels, that Medicare is in fact strengthened, and that reform is not a government take-over, but it is an attempt to crack down on the abusive practices of health insurance companies by providing oversight and increasing competition.