Five-Minute Action to Save Healthcare!

Did you get a chance to call your senators? If so, awesome (it’s kind of empowering, no?). This weekend, let’s pay it forward with our final 5-minute action of this week. Let’s all reach out to friends and/or family —particularly those in states with GOP senators who are most likely to be on the fence about the AHCA (list provided below) — and ask them, directly, to call their senators. 

The moment to do this is right nowTopher Spiro, from the Center for American Progress, has reported that for senators who are on the fence about the AHCA, this congressional recess is the test. If they get too much backlash in their home districts, they will tell Mitch McConnell that TrumpCare is dead.

So every one of these on-the-fence senators need to be met with more backlash than they can possibly imagine. We need everyone in this effort — both those who have been visiting/calling/protesting, and also those that haven’t yet started. This is entirely within reach; we need only three Republican senators to defect for the AHCA to fail.

The task, should you choose to accept it.

  1. Look through your contacts list, Facebook friends, twitter followers, address book. See if you can find at least one person (ideally more!) who lives in these states: 


West Virginia






South Carolina




These are the states whose senators are on the fence. These senators must be completely unnerved by the end of next week. 

  1. Call these loved ones. Or write to them. Don’t just communicate to a broad audience in a general Facebook post. Write to at least one person specifically. Use their name. Use their senator’s name. Here are the names and contact numbers for the target senators. 

Ask them to contact their senator/s. Tell them you’re worried about health care, and that because they’re a resident of (NAME STATE), they are in a better position to influence health care than almost anyone in America. Say, “will you please pick up the phone, or go to a protest?” Tell them you’ll walk them through it if they’re nervous. Some suggested phrasing is below.

Tell them your own story about making a first phone call. Tell them that you were nervous, that your voice shook, that you stumbled over your words, and that’s okay. It is so much more important that they call then how they sound when they call.

Tell them you’ll check back in with them. And that as long as they pick up and dial, and say manage the words: “do not repeal obamacare, or do not repeal the ACA,” you will cheer like heck for them.

Please provide the senators’ contact number in your email. Give them everything they might possibly need. 

Not sure what to say? Here’s a possible model:

Hi, _________. 

I hope you’re well! I don’t know if you’re aware, but like many people, I’ve become much more politically involved since November. I’ve been calling my own senators and representatives about a variety of issues — one of which is health care. I believe — and all the data suggest — that the AHCA (TrumpCare) would be a disaster for the nation’s health — far, far worse than Obamacare, which I’m committed to help improve. 

Here’s why I’m writing to you: the GOP needs 50 senate votes to pass the AHCA…which means we can block this by convincing just three moderate Republican senators not to vote for it. Your senator, Susan Collins, is very much on the fence…and word is that she’s spending this congressional break trying to figure out where her constituents stand. This means you (yes you specifically!) are in an extraordinary position to influence the health of this nation. Can I ask you to pick up the phone and call Senator Collins? 

I don’t know if you’ve ever made a call to your senator before…I will offer that I was super-nervous the first time I did it. What I learned is that (a) the first phone call is always the hardest, (b) it doesn’t matter what you sound like when you call…it only matters that you call, and (c) it actually feels really, really good when you’re done. 

You don’t need to know any specific policy points. As long as you say that you’re opposed to repealing Obamacare (the ACA), or that you’re opposed to the AHCA, you’ll have done what you needed to. If you stumble over your words (as I did), or if your voice is shaky (as mine was), that’s actually great — it’s a sign that you’re an ordinary citizen. 

If you’re nervous, I’m happy to help coach you through the phone call. Please know that I wouldn’t ask if I didn’t believe that both the issue and the moment were critically important. I spent my whole life not talking about politics…but this moment, right now, matters too much to for me to stay quiet.

Susan Collins’s # is 202-224-2523. Phone calls are much more effective than emails, FYI. Sometimes it takes a few tries to get through.  If you want a sample script, there’s one here:

Let me know if you have any questions…and let me know when you call: I will cheer like heck for you!

Why ask friends and family? 

Many, many people hesitate to make that first phone call. They want to call. They intend to. Maybe they’re sitting there right now, feeling like they should, but…something’s holding them back. While that “something” might be different for every one of them, all of them are much more likely to take the leap if they’re directly asked by someone they know. 

But isn’t it rude to pressure loved ones about politics?

Don’t think of it as pressure. Think about it as encouragement. If any part of them wishes they can do something, then they’re going to feel empowered when they make that first call. They’re going to feel good.

I say this with experience. Back in January, I wrote to my mother-in-law — a southern woman who is deeply uncomfortable discussing politics. I knew she didn’t like Trump and that she was worried about the country. But I also knew that 70+ years of not talking politics meant she probably wouldn’t pick up the phone on her own.

I didn’t feel comfortable asking. But I asked anyway. She did call, and then she wrote me to say, “I’m afraid I’m not very good at this, but I did it!” She was relieved, and proud…and it was a beginning. Now, she’s calling regularly (woohoo!).

But it’s so uncomfortable to talk about politics.

You bet it is. But the folks out there who are rooting for Trumpism— all those who support white nationalism, who want to ban all members of an entire religion from entering the country, who are discrediting legitimate journalism as fake news, and who are shouting “lock her up” like we’re living in Salem 1692— aren’t uncomfortable. Nor are they being quiet. This means the alternative to talking with our loved about politics is having them hear the Trumpists in one ear…and a vacuum in the other.

And if you think it will help them relax, you can always send them these humorous tips for calling your elected official, from the New Yorker.

Want to take it one step further? Help them find a resistance event near them:

Ali Benjamin

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