More than a dozen constituents gathers across the street from Senator Scott Brown’s campaign headquarters on Sunday afternoon. The lights in the Summer Street office are off, which arouses some suspicion.
“I drove by earlier and the lights were on,” says Jason Stephany, communications director of MassUniting, with a slight grin. The headquarters will usually have phone canvassers and other small operations on Sundays, but it looks like no one will receive this group of citizens.
They’re here to deliver Sen. Brown a letter urging him to cancel efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA), popularly known as “Obamacare.” The letter and a list of sponsoring organizations are available at the end.
Attendees seem more amused than frustrated by the office’s apparent early closing.
“Wish I could say I was surprised,” says Stephany. “This is not unusual [for Brown]. He avoids conversation with constituents constantly.” Stephany recalls joining a group to meet Brown during his office hours—he never showed up.
The group will still deliver their letter, and introduces a couple speakers before crossing the street.
Romella Tucker, a Personal Care Attendant with 1199 SEIU claims Brown is “Fighting against me [and] fighting against other PCAs in the Commonwealth.” Tucker later explains that ACA makes it easier for PCAs to help their consumers by lowering the cost of medications and health services. “It’s a jobs bill,” she adds.
“Thanks to the Affordable Care Act I was able to get my mammogram,” says Dori Tobias of Massachusetts Senior Action Council. Tobias wouldn’t have been able to afford the 20 percent for her screenings without options offered by ACA. Tobias has a biopsy scheduled Wednesday, but if it wasn’t for affordable healthcare, she’d have to forgo the process.
“Without Affordable Care I’d be walking around with cancer right now.”
The citizens cross the street waving signs, led by Tucker and Tobias. They knock on the glass door to campaign headquarters but there’s no response, just a silent and dark void on the other side.
They try slipping the paper under and over the door, but it’s sealed tight. They tape it there instead, adding extra tape after the wind picks up—they even shove another copy halfway through the door for good measure.
The group disbands, but hope that officer workers on Monday will arrive and find the following letter:
U.S. Senator Scott Brown
337 Summer Street
Boston, MA 02210
Dear Senator Brown,
We write today to urge you in the strongest terms to drop your opposition to the Affordable Care Act. With last week’s Supreme Court ruling, the Affordable Care Act has been approved by all three branches of the federal government, and is the settled law of land. If you care about creating jobs and making health care affordable for Americans, you should encourage your colleagues in Congress to abandon their efforts to repeal the law.
When you voted as a state senator to support health care reform in Massachusetts in 2006, it proved to be good for jobs, and good for the economy. Your rationales for opposing the Affordable Care Act are unraveling quickly, in part because of the success that similar reforms are having in Massachusetts – reforms that, to your credit, you originally voted to support. The Affordable Care Act will make health care more affordable for small businesses in Massachusetts and across the country, enabling those companies to hire more workers and invest in their businesses. In terms of job growth and employment, Massachusetts has established a clear track record of consistently outperforming other states that have not made similar reforms. The Affordable Care Act will have a similar positive effect on jobs and the national economy, unless you continue making the partisan choice to hold America back by siding with national Republicans, and refighting the political battles of the past two years.
In addition to the positive impact it will have on job creation, the Affordable Care Act has already begun to deliver new financial security for thousands of Massachusetts families. According to the Department of Health and Human Services, there are over 70,000 Massachusetts seniors who have saved an average of $648 each thanks to the closing of the Medicare donut hole. 2.5 million Massachusetts residents are now free of lifetime limits on their insurance plan, and 1.3 million Massachusetts residents with private insurance now receive all preventive services without any co-pays or other cost-sharing.
No independent minded Senator would support robbing Massachusetts families of these hard-won and much deserved financial benefits. No Senator that truly cares about job creation should be siding with the insurance giants in order to make health care more expensive for American small businesses.
Additionally, 780,000 Medicare recipients have already received free preventive services – such as mammograms, colonoscopies and free wellness visits with their doctor. Approximately 85,000 Massachusetts families will see an average refund of $140, because the Affordable Care Act requires insurance companies to reimburse customers if the insurer spends too much on administrative expenses like executive bonuses, and not enough on patient care. Last, but certainly not least, Massachusetts health centers have received over $107 million in federal funding through the law, improving the quality of medical care for thousands of patients and maintaining real jobs in our state’s largest employment industry – health care.
If you and your colleagues continue to push to repeal the law, all of these jobs and benefits to Massachusetts families are at risk. Your pledge to repeal the Affordable Care Act is in fact a misguided promise to kill jobs in our state and jeopardize significant health care savings for millions of Massachusetts families.
Each day wasted attempting to repeal health care reform is one more day that you have spent working against job creation – and against the interests of your constituents. We encourage you and your colleagues to stop refighting the political battles of the past two years and to support the Affordable Care Act as the law of the land, and as an engine to bring financial relief to millions of American families and businesses for the sake of job creation and a stronger economy.
Massachusetts Senior Action Council