Voters go to the polls to vote on the most expensive house race in history today between Jon Ossoff and Karen Handel. That will take up the headlines. But we are looking at the continued lack of media coverage on the GOP Senate health care plan. Changes to healthcare will change how you live. This bill has the potential to reshape 1/6 of the US economy and impact the lives of 23 million people protected by the Affordable Care Act. For that reason, we think it is more important to focus on healthcare than a district race in Georgia.
Last week we looked at why the media was not covering the bill. We are going to look at how some adjustments have been made by some of the news organizations. But first let’s look out how the opposition and awareness of this bill is really led by social media.
This bill continues to receive an inordinate amount of attention through social media. Opponents to the GOP strategy, both within politics and outside it, have been tweeting about it:
And Senators Cory Booker (D-NJ), Chris Murphy (D-CT) and Brian Schatz (D-HI) utilized Facebook Live today to post videos as they drove to the Congressional Budget Office to request the portions of the bill that had been sent there over the weekend by Mitch McConnell. Holding a cell phone, they rode a Lyft over to the CBO, while trading spaces to speak out on why they felt this bill should be opposed. They had a kind of Three Musketeers thing going.
This latest strategy was innovative and something that we will likely see more of in the future. It was not dependent upon any press being available, it had a clear narrative (the trio travels from point A to B), and it had the Senators pleading with viewers to call their representatives and shine a light on the bill’s procedure.
The conventional media is mostly coming around to dedicating ink to the topic. The New York Times has cranked up the attention dedicated to the bill’s existence. Their front page today has an article on the political maneuvering taking place to stop it. They also published an Op-Ed that touches on some of the history of healthcare and why it is problematic. They followed that up with a political take on whether the votes to pass the GOP bill exist or not.
CNN has taken its cue from the New York Times and followed up on the Democrats’ strategy.
The Washington Post tries to sift through the murkiness of the details and answer “what we know, what we don’t” in an article today.
Fox News is not covering the bill today.
Strip away the politics for a second and ask,
1.) Do I think bills should be crafted and passed without debate? Then consider, the reason that the bill is being hidden is obviously because the details would be highly unpopular. If more people knew about it, the bill would fail.
2.) So do you believe representatives should be free to carry out their legislative agenda without your input? After all, the bill is going to affect you, how you live, how you budget, etc. The benefit is that they can haggle, put things on the table, take them off, and not worry that public opinion will kill it in its nebulous form. This has been carried out before many times by both sides. The GOP Senate strategy is a little different because they are not planning to debate its final contents before passage.
Keep in mind that representatives are still receiving input from other sources. They are still going to take calls from their donors. They are still conversing with their networks in the health industry. The parties cut out are the Democrats and everybody’s constituents.
3.) What can you do? There is always something you can do. If you don’t agree with the few details we have of the bill, if you don’t agree with the process of passing the bill in secrecy, if you think anything about this process is wrong, then you can do something. Last week’s Take Action Thursday targeted health care. That’s how we constituents flip votes and how it encourages Senators like Booker, Murphy, Schatz, Harris and others to keep speaking out about it.