John Dingell, Obamacare — September 10, 2013 at 1:06 pm

Every ugly GOP trick in the book can’t stop Obamacare’s advocates


While anti-Obamacare crusaders stoop increasingly lower, the law’s supporters are making sure people know the facts.

I don’t think I really need to tell you just how ridiculous the failed attempts to repeal, defund or sabotage Obamacare are. After all, it’s been all over the news. And those who want to defeat the law will stop at nothing, from lying about Obamacare to harassing charitable organizations that are helping the uninsured enroll in new coverage options.

More on that shortly.

But first, I’d like to celebrate the folks who are out there getting the job done as we head toward the start of open enrollment through the health insurance marketplaces on October 1. Organizations like Enroll America, whose Get Covered America campaign is taking education to the streets — literally.

Last weekend, Get Covered America spearheaded a Get the Word Out Weekend of Action. Enroll America has staff in the 13 states with the highest rates of uninsured citizens. Michigan is among them, with nearly 1.2 million uninsured. Events were held in all of those states, including 18 in Michigan.

Volunteers canvassed neighborhoods, going door to door. They staffed tables at events and hosted special guests like Congressman John Dingell — who has championed healthcare reform for decades — at locations across the state. Congressman Dingell appeared at ACCESS in Dearborn, one of the nonprofit organizations awarded funding to provide in-person assistance to Michigan residents who need help signing up for health insurance.

The weekend was a huge success, says Shawn Dhanak, Michigan Communications Lead for Enroll America.

Our volunteers told us the response from communities has been overwhelmingly positive. I don’t think I’ve heard one negative comment about the new healthcare options. Our volunteers are working hard to get people the information they want and need about enrolling through the new insurance marketplaces, and it’s gratifying for them to see responses like the one from a woman with diabetes and kidney disease who currently spends half her monthly income — $900 a month — on health insurance. She was overjoyed to see them at her door and hear about the new options she didn’t know about.

Enroll America is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization devoted to helping educate people about the new healthcare options available under the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare). Through the Get Covered America campaign, they’re raising awareness and directing people to the healthcare marketplace in their state, where assistance is available online, by phone or in person.

Some details of the marketplaces are still being finalized, but people in Michigan (or other states without a state exchange) can visit to get information and sign up for email updates.

Awareness of what the Affordable Care Act and the marketplaces have to offer is growing, says Dhanak, but there’s still work to do.

The marketplaces will benefit tens of millions of Americans, guaranteeing them peace of mind. People can use the marketplaces to shop and compare insurance plans to find the one that’s best for them and their families — and many will be eligible for financial assistance. Plus, no matter what plan people choose, the law requires all of them to cover essentials like routine doctor’s visits, hospitalizations, emergency care and prescriptions.

There are 35 community educational events planned for Michigan alone this week and over the weekend — with more to follow. To find an event in your area or to sign up to volunteer, visit the Get Covered America website.

It’s all-hands-on-deck time, especially as Republicans and Tea Party zealots continue their relentless attacks on the law and those who support it.

As reported by Jonathan Cohn in The New Republic, Republicans on the House Energy and Commerce Committee sent letters to some of the 105 organizations that received federal funding to serve as “navigators” for Obamacare. Like ACCESS, many of these groups chosen to help the uninsured enroll for health insurance through their state or federal marketplace are charitable organizations. Others are government agencies or religious organizations that are active in their communities.

The committee has essentially demanded that these organizations, which are already busy gearing up for the October 1 open enrollment start-up, jump through ridiculous hoops to answer questions about their organizations and prove that they’re qualified to serve as navigators. (Funny how Republicans objected to such scrutiny by the IRS, isn’t it?)

This week, the White House responded to the questions raised by the committee with a letter that concludes with the following: “We trust that our response fully addresses your questions.” You can read more, including the letter, in Sarah Kliff’s article, “Obama administration to Congress: We’re tired of your dumb Obamacare questions.” (Bonus points to Kliff for the best headline of the week.)

Still want more? Last week, Eclectablog’s own LOLGOP (aka Jason Sattler) was featured on the “Night Shift” radio show hosted by Tony Trupiano, where he discussed the harassment of navigators at length.

[soundcloud url=”″ params=”” width=”100%” height=”166″ iframe=”true” /]

[Photos courtesy of Get Covered America.]