Note: #MEAction is a non-partisan organization, and is not affiliated with any political party. The views of the presenter are not necessarily those of #MEAction.
Housing Works is mobilizing people who want to fight for health care. Housing Works provided this webinar last month on how to protect and improve healthcare in the U.S. using a tactic called “bird-dogging.”
View the recording here. (We apologize that the introduction to the presenter was cut off.)
The metaphor of “bird-dogging” comes from a hunter who uses a dog to jump into the bushes and scare out the birds out so that the hunter can get a better picture of what they’re dealing with. In other words, a bird-dog exposes your target.
“We need to challenge our elected officials to force them to come out publicly and make a statement [on health care issues] and that gives us a chance to hold that elected official accountable,” said Jaron Benjamin, who gave the presentation.
Benjamin noted other examples where bird-dogging has been successful, including the case in the nineties when eight activists staged a protest on the prohibitive price of AIDS drugs in South Africa during Al Gore’s announcement to run for president. The eight followed Al Gore to his next event to continue the public shaming. Al Gore eventually worked with congress to negotiate down the price of HIV drugs from $10,000 per year to $350 for South Africans.
For more information about the Housing Works activism on the ACA, contact
Key facts and talking points about the Affordable Care Act
• 20 million more Americans have health coverage TODAY due to the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare. (Source: HHS)
• If the ACA is repealed, 30 million will lose their health coverage in the future (Urban Institute). (The higher number is because the individual insurance market will collapse with ACA repeal.)
• Health coverage for these 20 million people is paid mostly through $600 billion in taxes over 10 years from the rich and health insurance and drug companies. (Families USA)
• The ACA has helped reduce inequality because it requires the wealthy to contribute more in taxes AND it provides a critical benefit to low-income Americans. (Washington Post)
• ACA repeal will give each of the 400 richest families a $7 million tax cut, on average. (CBPP)
• It’s time the wealthy and big corporations started paying their fair share of taxes so we can create an economy that works for all of us. That starts by saying no to repealing the ACA and saying yes to ending tax giveaways to the rich and to powerful insurance and drug companies.
• Repealing the ACA will take away health care for 30 million Americans. At the same time, it will give $600 billion in tax breaks to the rich and to insurance and drug companies. That’s a very bad deal for America’s families.
• If the ACA is repealed, the 400 richest Americans will each get a $7 million tax cut while millions will lose their health care. That’s what I call a rigged system; it needs to end.
• Every Republican proposal to replace the ACA would increase taxes on working families to pay for health insurance rather than make the rich and big insurance companies pay more.
• The ACA covers 20 million more people today because it asks the wealthy and insurance and drug companies to pay a bit more in taxes. A meaningful replacement plan needs to raise the $600 billion needed to keep these 20 million people covered.
• Medicare beneficiaries will face higher premiums and deductibles if the ACA is repealed. ACA taxes helped to extend Medicare for another 10 years. That means Medicare can fully serve the 57 million who depend on this earned benefit.
• If the ACA is repealed, millions of children, seniors and people with disabilities will lose their Medicaid coverage while insurance and drug companies will get $250 billion in tax breaks.
• Members of Congress need to decide whose side they are on. Do they stand with working families or with big insurance and drug companies?
Town Hall Questions
• The ACA provides health coverage to 20 million children, seniors and people with disabilities by asking the richest Americans and big insurance and drug companies to pay a bit more in taxes. That seems fair since the high cost of health care is tied to the big profits made by insurance companies and drug companies. Do you object to the rich doing their part to help the rest of us?
• If the ACA is repealed, the 400 wealthiest families in America will each get a tax cut of $7 million. Do you support this giant tax giveaway to the super-wealthy? Are they more deserving than tens of millions of Americans who can’t afford health insurance on their own?
• If you repeal the ACA, you lose $600 billion in tax revenue over ten years. That money pays for health care for 20 million people. Some members of Congress have said the way to replace that revenue is to start taxing the health coverage that employers provide to their workers. Do you support taxing my health care benefits?
Repealing #Obamacare = 30M people lose health coverage while cutting taxes of rich and corporations by $600B. That’s a bad deal. #SaveACA
13M low-income Americans will lose Medicaid/CHIP if #Obamacare is repealed. The wealthy will get a $346B tax cut. Not fair. #SaveACA
9M people will lose help buying insurance if #Obamacare is repealed, while insurance and drug companies get $247B in tax breaks. #SaveACA
7M ppl will lose health coverage when insurance market folds after #Obamacare repeal, while 400 richest get $7M tax break. #BadDeal #SaveACA
#Obamacare taxes rich to give working families health care, narrowing income inequality. Repeal would widen it again. Seem fair? #SaveACA
Department of Health and Human Services, Health Insurance Coverage and The Affordable Care Act, 2010–2016 Urban Institute, Implications of Partial Repeal of the ACA through Reconciliation
Families USA, Repeal of the Affordable Care Act = A Huge Tax Cut for the Wealthy
The Washington Post, How Obama Has Narrowed The Income Inequality Gap
Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, ACA Repeal Would Lavish Medicare Tax Cuts on 400 Highest-Income Households