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A Few Thoughts on Strategy: Communicating about OCI's Obamacare Emergency Rule
Written by Kirsten   
Saturday, 19 November 2011 23:56

This is the fourth in a series of articles about the healthcare situation that is quickly unfolding here in Wisconsin. 

If you missed them, here are parts One, Two, and Three.


Over the past few weeks, Wisconsinites have become increasingly aware that their healthcare freedoms are in danger. An emergency rule signed by Governor Scott Walker on November 3rd and by State Insurance Commissioner Ted Nickel on November 11th, brings this state into new compliance with Obamacare.

Emergency rules generally lead to permanent rules. Moreover, a single line in the justification for this emergency rule tells us that AB 210 is almost certainly still the vehicle intended to serve as permanent rules.

Assembly Bill 210 has been introduced, a bill that repeals inconsistent provisions in accordance with federal requirements, but it is unlikely that AB 210 will be enrolled within reconsideration timeframe. Therefore the Commissioner is proposing this emergency rule to comply with federal requirements in order to retain regulatory jurisdiction of grievance and independent review processes.

The third article in this series dealt with the damage this emergency rule does to the 26-state lawsuit to which Wisconsin has been party since January of this year. Not only does compliance compromise Wisconsin's credibilty in claiming that the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), aka Obamacare, is unconstutional; it also undermines the integrity of the court case overall.

Unfortunately, if we blow it, we don't just blow it for Wisconsin...we blow it for everyone in the United States. At least seven other plaintiff states in the case are, like us, continuing to move toward implementation of Obamacare. So, we certainly won't be alone in messing things up. But that fact doesn't make it better. We need to reverse course now in order to restore greater integrity to Wisconsin and to the lawsuit overall.

But tackling this problem is not necessarily simple. Many people are justifiably upset that this emergency rule was signed. It indeed places the State of Wisconsin, state residents, small insurers, and our lawsuit against Obamacare at risk. But depending on how we approach matters now, we can make a difference...or a disaster.

So, before we do anything else, let's take a look at the three possible avenues in front of us. We can...

  1. Stand around and gripe. I think we all know how that one ends, so I hope no one reading this article will choose this option.

  2. Get all up in the governor's face with a lot of angry invectives and demands. Unfortunately, as much as it might feel good to do this initially, this option also ultimately goes nowhere. In fact, it will backfire. Why...? First, raw anger almost always prevents your target from hearing your actual message. It will get lost or ignored, as the other person focuses on defending themselves against your emotional onslaught. Second, raw anger inspires the ire of those who feel protective of the person you're attacking. In this case, a large segment of the public feels pretty darned loyal to Governor Walker. Scream at him, and you're likely to get nothing more than a lot of people screaming right back at you.
  3. Calmly but resolutely work to put the facts in front of the public, our legislators, and Governor Walker. When people are calmly presented with the plain facts surrounding this emergency rule and the danger in which it places us, when they truly understand that OCI is not telling the truth, the tide will begin to turn. As we educate fellow citizens and legislators, we will have more people to help firmly and respectfully communicate the facts to the Governor.

Option #3 is the best strategy. It alienates no one.  Quite to the contrary, it brings the maximum number of citizens on board to pay close attention to the issue and to communicate the facts to Governor Walker. It also creates a means of educating legislators and enlisting their help. We need them, too.  

Incidentally, many legislators have also been misled in relationship to the true effects and impact of first AB 210 and now this emergency rule. So some of them may have a hard time accepting that fact. The goal is not to shame anyone. Please do not take that approach. The goal is simply to help them understand the truth so that they can start fighting for the right things from here on out. Again, we need our legislators awake and helping to inform Governor Walker.

Educate, educate, educate. But remember: The teachers you liked best in school and from whom you learned the most were never the mean ones. Be firm in your message, but also calm, friendly, and polite. 

Call and set up an appointment to talk with your representatives on this crucial matter---at the Capitol or in district. 

Talk to your neighbors, friends, and relatives.

And keep those calls and emails going to the Governor's Office:

Ph. 608.266.1212
email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it  

Together, we will prevail.