Monday, August 03, 2009

Healthcare Phone Calls To My Representatives

I have called the offices, both local and Washington DC, as well as emailed, my congressional delegation, Jay Inslee, Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell, 6 phone call, 3 emails, with one simply question…. If a healthcare bill with a government run public option is passed, will the Congressman / Senator pledge to sign up for that plan for their health insurance. The lack of a response has been eye opening.

It has become extremely clear to me that this is a question the offices have received many times and they simply have no good answer. I say this because the one person I did speak to who was not the front line telephone answerer told me that I am not the first person to ask this question but did everything she could to not answer the question and would not promise me she would get an answer, just like everyone else I spoke with. I will go a step farther and state I firmly believe that the offices have been in contact with each other and have talked about what to do to not answer this question. The reason I state this is because I have got the same non answers with almost the exact same wording from all 6 locations. So now almost 2full weeks after sending the original emails and making the first phone calls, I have yet to get a single response.

The most amazing conversation was one where when I first called and asked the question, I was originally told by the person answering the phone that she could not speak for Representative Inslee, which is the exact same first response I have received with all 6 calls. I told her I understood and then asked if she knew the answer to the question. She said no. I then asked if she could find someone else in the office who might know the answer. After 2 minutes of waiting on hold, she came back and said nobody else in the office knows the answer. I then asked if she knew who I should talk to in order to get the answer. She replied that would be me. After about 10 seconds worth of awkward pause / stunned silence, I told her that she did not know the answer. At this point I was not sure if she knew that or not. I then came up with what I thought was a brilliant idea. I told her what she should do is next time she sees Representative Inslee, she should walk up to him and say a voter called with this question, then ask the question and then after he gives the answer, she should call me back with that answer. She told me she was not sure she could do that in her position in the office. I then asked if she was physically capable of asking the Representative a question and she said she was. I told her it sounds to me like it is not a case of you not being able to ask the question, but rather you are not willing to ask the question and my guess is it is because we both know the truthful answer will make the representative look bad. She said she could not speak for the Representative.

While this was the most extreme example, all of the 6 calls have had a very similar nonsensical run around quality to them. An absolute unwillingness to try to get my question answered.

Feel free to call your representatives and see how their tax payer supported employees respond.

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