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First, it must concentrate on winning support for a specific bill that incorporates the key principles Obama has been advocating: universal insurance coverage, no denial of coverage for preexisting conditions, the public option and controls on exorbitant drug and insurance industry costs. The Limbaugh loyalists know what they are against. But Obama and his allies have to be clear about what they are for.
Challenging the right wing's framing of the issue, Organizing for America and the activist groups need to recruit volunteers to reach out to friends, neighbors and especially the "undecided" public with the same urgency, energy and creativity that they showed in the election.
Second, the campaign must focus attention on the insurance companies that are primarily responsible for the health-care mess. This means organizing public events across the country that can articulate Americans' frustrations with the current health insurance system and polarize public opinion against the insurance companies and their allies.
Americans who are paying the price of our failure to act -- people who lost family members because they were denied coverage for preexisting conditions, people who can't afford health insurance and fear that a medical emergency would wipe them out, families who went bankrupt and lost their homes because of out-of-pocket medical expenses, and businesses that suffer because of the high cost of insurance for employees -- need opportunities to publicly confront those responsible for their plight. It is time to put human faces on the crisis by contrasting their stories with the insurance companies' outrageous profits and top executives' exorbitant salaries and bonuses.
This requires "movement" tactics, from leaflets, vigils and newspaper ads to nonviolent civil disobedience -- such as occupying insurance company offices and picketing the homes of insurance executives -- to focus attention on the companies and individuals who are the major obstacles to reform. As long as the real source of the problem remains faceless (or can hide behind seven conservative Democratic senators), the right remains free to demonize "big government" rather than greedy corporations.
Third, the campaign must educate constituents of the Baucus caucus about their senators' political and financial dependence on the insurance industry and other opponents of reform. They need to ask these conservative Democrats: Which side are you on? If they won't support real reform, they should know that a primary challenge is likely.