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Rapid Response on SCOTUS Ruling

Rapid Response on SCOTUS Ruling

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Published by Andrew Kaczynski

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Published by: Andrew Kaczynski on May 16, 2012
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Rapid Response to SCOTUS Ruling on ACA Challenge
We expect the Supreme Court will issue its decision on legal challenges to the ACA by the end of  June, if not earlier. Although there is no way to be certain of the decision’s timing or the precisedetails of the verdict itself, advocates and organizers must be ready to immediately respond inways that define that outcome of this case for their members, the public and the press as soon aspossible after the announcement of the ruling.Once the Supreme Court issues a decision, national and state press will focus much of theirattention on reporting the legal details and speculating on the political significance of the outcome. This creates is a huge opportunity for advocates to elevate a message about the benefits of thelaw for average people and to influence the coverage so that we tell the political and human storythat most helps us protect and preserve the law moving forward.
To do this, we’ll have tomove quickly and be ready to respond with events and other activities as these storiesare being written: within 24 hours of the decision.
 To accommodate this quick turnaround time, it's important to start lining up elements andresources to stage events and execute activities that anticipate the context in the moment whenthe news breaks.
Note that many of these can be lined up NOW, without any additionalinformation about the timing or specifics of the decision
What should organizations prepare in May to be ready to respond to the Junedecision?
Prepare Your Organization’s Statement
Develop a statement based on common messaging to release to the press nationally and instates immediately following the decision. Ideally, this statement would be ready to go byMemorial Day and would need only minor tweaks by the time you send it.
Plan Events Now That Can be Executed Immediately After the Decision
 The best way to demonstrate public outrage or public celebration about the decision is tostage an event that shows average people actually responding to the news. We can do thisby organizing events as quickly after the announcement of the decision as possible while themedia window is still open--ideally, within 12-24 hours. To do this, we’ll need to startassembling the elements of these events now, so that they will be lined up and ready to goon decision day (if the ruling comes early in the day) or the following day.
See below for more details on how to plan these events now.
Recruit, Gather and Prepare Your “Real People” Stories
No matter what the flavor of our response is, we’ll need real people who are impacted bythe decision to anchor our message and create urgency. Now is the time to find morestories, train key constituency messengers and put spokespeople on alert that they will beneeded for events, social media and press release quotes within 24 hours of the decision.
Develop materials like e-alerts, press templates, social media tools, and talkingpoints
 To break through with our message and influence the narrative around the decision, we’llneed tools ready to go as soon as the announcement comes that both ask our supporters totake action and that amplify our coordinated message. These materials should not focuson the particulars of the legal decision or even specific policy implications, but actually onthe impact (or possible impact) of a favorable or unfavorable decision on regular people whodepend on the ACA for health care. The final messaging will be either celebratory oragitational in tone depending on the result, but we will need to have both versions preparedto go.
A Guide to Preparing “Day After” Events In Advance
Advocates should plan events like press conferences, rallies, actions, telephone pressers, forumsand assorted visibility events (like a “honk and wave” or a Burma shave) for the day after theannouncement of the Supreme Court decision. These events are our best opportunity to show thepublic’s reaction, to successfully garner press and to mobilize public opinion in real time. Note thatthe faster these events happen, the more press-worthy they will be. Waiting longer to orchestrateevents diminishes the urgency of our message and risks the press losing interest in our reaction. To execute events immediately after the decision, groups will need to assemble all the compositeparts of the action in advance so that those event organizers will only need to do follow up and fillin some blanks at the time of execution. See below for advance work you can do in May to ensureyou have a timely and successful event in June.
Choose a venue ahead of time.
It’s always important to choose a venue that visually suggests your message, is easily accessibleto the press and that will make your speakers feel comfortable. You can choose one venue thatworks for all scenarios, or plan around a couple of different venues that accommodate differentoutcomes.
Venues For ANY DecisionVenues for UnfavorableDecisionVenues for FavorableDecision
State Capitols (especially if your session is still inprogress)Hospital Emergency RoomsUniversity/Campus or schoolsFederal Courthouse StepsHome or Small Business of Someone Who will LoseBenefitsPPFA Clinic or other locationthat provides health servicesincluding Medicaid enrollment.Senior CentersMOC Office (Supreme Courtsides with Republicans inCongress and insurancecompanies)Pro-ACA Lawmakers’ Office(MOC, Mayor, State Leg, etc.)Community Health Centers,Clinics, Community LivingCentersState AG or Governor’s officeOutside Insurance Company(SCOTUS sided withconsumers, guaranteeingprotections against pre-ex, etc.will stay in place).Insurance Commissioners’Office
Line up your spokespeople ahead of time.The most compelling speakers will be the folks that are directly impacted--people withstories who are either going to keep their coverage or lose their benefits
. Below areexamples of other compelling speakers:
 Teachers who can talk about the impact of the decision on the future of kids;
Docs/Nurses/Providers who can talk about impact on patients;
Small Business People;
State Legislators and other State Elected Officials who can talk about state impact;
“Experts”, Academics and Advocates who are recognized authorities and will draw mediaattention;
Hospital Administrators or Board Members, Community Health Center Directors, NursingHome or Home Health Agency Administrators, etc. who can talk about jobs and services lostor gained. Your people with stories and other speakers need to be recruited, trained and prepared to respond

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