Medicare for All

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Medicare for All
Medicare for All.
Everybody In. Nobody Out.

Million Letters for Health Care Campaign
— Tips and Experiences —

Introduction. Learn from others. Use your resources. Do not reinvent the wheel by practicing the NIH Syndrome.See additional information for more explanation.

Tips Part One

This part is intended to be some “basics”, while Part Two will grow with additions of specific ideas that may be more likely to grow and be refined over time.

#1 Stay Positive

  • We can do this. It is exciting. Above all, stay positive.
  • Know that this is a big, but manageable, activity.
  • If all you can do is just a little in terms of either time or money or effort, then please do a little.
  • This is a “numbers game” as marketing folks might call it. Don’t be bothered by the numbers. In other words, if you find a group of 10 or a 100 who want to participate, then fine. But if you have to contact 20 people just to get 1, then that’s fine too. Just keep moving. Every 1 person counts as a major success, whether it took minutes or hours or days to find the next participant. As noted below, NO person needs a lot of effort. Just ask and get a yes or no reply. See more details below.

#2: Work as a Team Consider yourself first as part of a district team and second as part of a national team. Why? Because the district team needs to get its 2,299 participants

If you have a contribution or comment or complaint or compliment, then communicate to others in your district and/or contact me or send a copy to me. I might not always respond immediately, at least not with a complete reply or action. But it will always be my intention to get a complete answer back to you at some point. Your input, whatever it is at a district level or to me, will be valuable and will have a positive impact. No matter what the input has been to me for these five-plus years, every “positive input” or “negative input” has been a great contributor to progress.

#3: Have Your “Track Shoes On” (That is, move!) Following is a brainstorm of ideas that the campaign team started on March 21, 2009. As indicated above, if you have contributions, then communicate to others in your district and/or contact me or send a copy to me.

  • Minimize Your Time per Person. If someone wants to participate, then spend up to 5 (?) minutes with them. If someone is not interested, give them a handout move on as quickly as possible. We must have high numbers of people, and education about details needs to come later!
  • Focus on Everyone. Focus on everyone, not just the persons who have been hurt. Just because a person has been hurt by the current situation does not mean that they are in agreement with the implementation of national health insurance. On the other hand, if you have ideas besides referrals for how to contact not only those who care, but also those who have been hurt, please share them with us for Tips Part Two, below.
  • We must focus our time on those individuals and groups who either already want to act or quickly come to the conclusion that they want to act.
  • Ask and you shall receive, but you need to ask. As marketing folks say, “do the close.” Close the “sale”. Get action from those who want to act. If it’s obvious that they will not act, politely move on to someone else.
  • Focus on Moving, Not Sitting We must no longer dilute our time with on-line comments during the times of the day when we could be making face-to-face contacts. Having a printed letter in your hand, ready to sign, gives the best chance of getting a signature! That does not work as well on the computer. Why? Because personal contact gives you a much better chance at getting a signature and getting a commitment by people to print and send letters each month.
  • We have run out of time for detailed education.
    • For 2009 the education for people who need or want it will need to come from their own efforts as all of us focus on the Letters for Health Care Campaigns in every state that are contributing or will be contributing to the Million Letters Campaign. That is how they can prepare for the change that is truly coming.
    • If people ask questions, tell them that answers will be available at the website. Compliment people. Tell them that it is great that they are asking questions, that it’s best to prepare for the change that is coming.
    • Education is available at this web site. See that section titled “Single-Payer Education.” The “Real Life Stories” link was moved “to the top” of the Table of Contents on the left, and many more stories will be added about Americans who live in other countries who have told or are telling their stories. Many of them will come from a group of Americans in Japan who are dedicated to that activity.
    • People will be able to refer to “Answers” page at this website … one with the best answers that the campaign team can develop. Feel free to contribute when you see it.

#4: Get Names and Information by Congressional District

A form will be provided onto which you can carefully print all information that you receive.

#5: Be Organized

  • Establish a contact person(s) and tell me who that person(s) is.
  • Having some information on-line somewhere would be good. A web page will be set up for each district. If you have your own “Letters for Health Care” web page, then I can link to that. Otherwise, I can maintain some information for you. We plan to set up a “database” to help minimize the effort that will be required for me to maintain the information that you want on your web page.

#6: Ask for Help in Time, Money and Effort

  • Ask people if they want to help. Record how they want to help.
  • Ask for financial support. You are spending your time, your money and your effort on a project. The most efficient way for money to support you is to get your own money. I need money also; most of us need money. How will we work to ensure that all those signed letters get sent? Already have the stamped envelopes in hand: address them and seal them when you get a letter signed. See the ideas in the section in Part Two titled “Financial Support.”

#7: Know the High Value of This Work.

There are other activities to do, such as making presentations to business people and community leader. Those are not highlighted at this website, which is dedicated to the letters campaigns nationally and by district. A high priority activity is to get ordinary citizens participating in this grassroots letters campaign.

We must contact individual persons and interested groups and get 2,299 letter-sending participants for each state campaign. Direct contacts have the highest value.

Letters to the Editor are not covered at this website, but they are worthy of mention here. Eric Massa has guided us to send letters. He also mentions letters to the editor as being one of the most widely read communication. If you don’t consider yourself as a person who does or wants to write letters to the editor, then focus on making the personal or group contacts.

Tips Part Two

Ideas for Scripts when contacting an individual person, especially someone who does not know you.

  • (These ideas for options on ways to speak with people need to be developed.)

Financial Support

  • Small contribution from new participant. (This idea needs to be tested, intended for an individual who has no money to spare and does not yet have an organization to support you.) As the very last action of a contact with a person who
  • Ask an organization to help you.

Is there experience with letter-writing within your district or a nearby district? This letters campaign is simpler than a letter-writing campaign, but some of the same processes or techniques can probably be used.

Perhaps you or someone you know has some experience with a church or service or political organization that has done letter-writing in the past. Take advantage of that knowledge and experience to help provide guidance and ideas for letter-writing efforts across a district. Since the letter itself already has a starting point and there is a list of suggestions from which a the “letter-writer” can simply select a note to add hand, then perhaps the letters can be done quickly. However, if you find that you have a strong group for letter-writing and want to really “get into it” and write a truly personal note, please remember to keep it short! Each office of the U.S. House will be getting over 2,000 envelopes in the mail, for heaven’s sake! So short notes, even when truly personal, are important!

Additional Information

The NIH Syndrome is the “not invented here” syndrome where a person or group does not take full advantage of something that already exists. The person or group consumes time and money and effort to come up with “their” way. For the Million Letters for Health Care Campaign it is fine to have the same objective and use the same techniques as everyone else. We will all refer to the best of the best. Some individuals and organizations have some great groups and great individuals who are doing great things. We will all now take advantage of the best of the best. Most of us will just follow the contents in this web page … however its contents shapes up, especially during the first weeks of the campaign, such as through May, during which time we very much need to have an excellent start at this campaign. We have no time to lose! We must all do the same activity in whatever we decide is the best way, not going in different directions. We don’t need or even want to have what is sometimes called our “own venue” and our “own way of doing things”. Those words or those kinds of words have been used in the past in this movement. We must now all have the same objective of each district getting their 2,299 participants each sending 1 letter to 1 person 1 time per month. There might be variations and options and ideas, but we will all know that we are on a massive team doing a massively great job at one of the biggest grassroots movements the U.S. has ever seen.

If you know of something that will definitely help all of us that is not seen at this web page, discuss it within your district, and contact so that I can bounce the idea off the entire team of district coordinators. Then we will try to quickly determine a “yes or no” if it can refine what ALL of us do … and/or keep it in mind for the future.

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