A few weeks ago, some of us Democrats in a rural Virginia county decided to bring in an ACA Navigator from a couple of hours away and hold sign-up clinics for health insurance under the ACA. The director of our local public library (an independent library because our county supervisors will not support a county library) agreed to host the clinics and let us use their computers. We advertised and advertised. Six of us volunteered to help as we could . . . my job was to ensure that folks who came to the clinic had an email address and, if not, sign them up with gmail.
On Saturday, 22 March, we had only four appointments: two single individuals and a couple, none of them with insurance.
Read about 'em below the fold.
First was a 62 year old man, widowed for many years, walks with a cane as a result of many years working on the fishing boats. He had an email account because his 15-yr-old granddaughter signed him up on Hotmail a couple of years ago and helps him on her computer. Took two hours to get him signed up and he and his cane fairly danced out of the library!!!
Next was a couple in their late 50's. He works seasonal work on the local fishing boats, picks up whatever he can in the off-season. She's a cashier at a local quick-stop, cleans houses and baby-sits for a few more $$$. Because of her cashier's job, she was fairly computer literate and they had an email address. Took about 90 minutes to sign them up. They left wreathed in smiles, promising to tell ALL their friends.
Last was a 58-yr-old whose wife "up and left about 15 years ago." He was accompanied by his 12-yr-old grandson; he had no email account, had never sat at a computer keyboard. He worked as a roofer for several years until he fell off a roof and since then has subsisted on small SS disability and odd jobs. The grandson used my laptop to setup Grandpa's gmail account, then, the kid bounced back and forth between the laptop and his smartphone, sending and receiving email for Grandpa. Grandpa got a heavily-subsidized policy that will cost him $55 a month, $10 co-pays, free annual checkups and regular screening. However, Grandpa's greatest joy was "Now I have an email account!!! I don't know what it means, but I've got it!!!"
And now for the bad news. We are in Virginia's First Congressional District, "represented" by wimpy, do-nothing Rob Wittman (Republican). Last week, we tried something. Several of us called Wittman's offices -- DC and local. We asked for constituent help with Social Security, veterans' benefits, and ACA signup. We found, if we asked for help with an SS problem, or asked for help with vets' benefits, Wittman's office listened to us, offered to help, gave us addresses and phone numbers. If we asked for help with ACA signup, "We don't have any information on that."
I'd like to know if other Kossacks who are "represented" by Republicans have a similar experience when seeking constituent assistance.
In spite of the Republicans, WE WILL WIN THIS THING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!