What works : towards a prescription for Insure Tennessee

What would make a difference?   What needs to happen to make insure Tennessee become reality?   The honest truth is I don’t think anyone knows or it would be reality now.

What follows is simply one idea of how to think it through and come up with a plan.   I don’t know the answers but I hope these are some of the questions.

One way to look at it is in terms of blockages and leverage.   Some things block change.   Some things make change more likely.   Minimize the things that block change.   Maximize the things that make change more likely.   The end result all other things being equal should be an increased likelihood of change.

1.  Legislators don’t really understand Insure Tennessee.   They misunderstand it or have a distorted or confused view of what it really is…… Educate, educate, educate.   Expose them to facts,  figures and arguments that help them to become better educated and change their mind.   QUESTION  To what degree is the problem lack of knowledge?   Is the challenge to get people to change their minds based on a better grasp of the facts of Insure Tennessee?   If you believe it is what strategies are likely to  be more successful in getting legislators to change their mind??

2.  People don’t understand the impact of the problem,  what it means to be in the gap.   Give them a face.   Show them, tell them,  have them see and touch and shake hands with real people suffering.   Touch their hearts.  Capture their spirit. QUESTION Is there a deficiency of stories?   Will the witness of others make the difference we hope it will?  To what extent is it possible for people to know and simply not care?

3.  Legislators don’t believe their constituents are in favor of Insure Tennessee.   Talk to your legislator,  write to him.   Get others to do the same. Let them know what you think,  what you feel and what you want.   Make sure they know what representing you means.  
QUESTION What if what they fear is not you but the “tea party”  and the threat of a challenger in the primary.  How do you address this issue and detoxify it?   Is it simply about saying perhaps their risk is real but the gain,  the good done is worth the risk?  What is the key to doing this?  How do you convince someone the reward of saying yes is worth the risk of saying yes?    Where is the point of greatest leverage?

4.  Legislators are as responsive to their leadership as they are their constituents and without leadership approval the chances of them saying yes are greatly reduced.    Pressure the leadership.  Do everything you can to increase pressure.   QUESTION  Is there any evidence at all this has worked in any real way?   Is there a point where bending to pressure would make leaders (in their eyes) “lose face”  they are not willing to take a chance on losing?  Is their a point where pressure makes them less likely to listen rather than more?

5. Without the real support and leadership of Governor Haslam none of this will ever be real. His support is a necessary condition of success. Hold him accountable for his actions. Do not let him coming up with the plan sufficient. Expect him to be Governor. QUESTION Is there any evidence that Governor Haslam has the strength or even the desire to lead this fight? How do you convince him?

6. This is more a question of power and there is no evidence the legislature will listen to anyone it feels like it can get away with not listening to. Increase the intensity of tactics possibly borrowing from other movements like black lives matter or others. How do we demand to be heard in a way that can not be ignored? Question Has it gotten to this point? This is the most high risk strategy. When if ever should it be considered?

7. As much as it may not seem it we are making progress. Without the specter of an election hanging over their heads the chances of success next year are real. Keep encouraging people and keep the focus. QUESTION </Is this true? Are we really closer? How do you keep people looking for concrete signs of hope encouraged? What do we do between now and next year?

8. This legislature will never change. The answer is a new legislature. Elect Democrats and more moderate Republicans. QUESTIONHow many real options are out there this year? How long do we have to wait?

Like I said I don’t know the answer. All of these have some validity and I am not sure any of them are mutually exclusive.

What do you think? What is next? What are the conditions under which we will finally finally really really Insure Tennessee?


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