Advocating for Ourselves

The news moves fast. This week, the Republican effort to repeal the ACA in 2017 gave its death rattle. This time last week, however, things were looking a little bleaker.

The Graham-Cassidy healthcare bill, the GOP’s latest attempt to repeal and “replace” Obamacare, looked like it might secure the needed 50 votes in the Senate. One of the bill’s authors, Republican Senator Bill Cassidy, had promised in a live interview with Jimmy Kimmel that his health care bill would pass what he called the “Kimmel Test” — that it would protect people with pre-existing conditions from getting screwed by not letting insurance companies cap what they’ll pay.

This turned out to be a hollow promise. Cassidy’s bill would have allowed states to abandon the ACA’s regulations mandating that insurance companies charge the same premiums to people regardless of their health status.

In response, a few BSDers quickly created the Kimmel Test, inspired by Cassidy’s promise to Jimmy Kimmel, using our product CallOut. CallOut lets your audience or constituents call, tweet at, or email their government representatives with only a few clicks. Contact information for the President, Vice President, U.S. Senate, U.S. House, State Senates, State Houses, and Municipal Governments is built into the tool, so it’s ready for nearly any kind of advocacy work.

We’ve been working with clients to fight for the ACA for months, but this time we wanted to supplement that work with a pro-bono effort of our own. The plug-and-play nature of CallOut allowed us to stand up a great-looking page within hours, and thanks to the tool’s visual flexibility, the final design looked quite a bit like our initial sketches. We were ready to start promoting the Kimmel Test on Twitter and to our networks and get people calling Congress.

The Kimmel Test CallOut page made it easy for citizens to demand that their senators oppose the Graham-Cassidy bill.

But as I said, the news moves fast. Within those few hours, John McCain announced his opposition to the bill, effectively killing it. Still, it felt good to be able to jump on a moment with something polished that had the potential to drive meaningful action. Because events in the legislative space can unfold so quickly, it’s more important than ever to have access to turnkey solutions that allow you to jump into action with little notice.

And the next time one of these moments comes around, CallOut will have even more tricks up its sleeves. Along with new reporting capabilities, social metadata, and international features, the update will allow for custom targets. In our #KimmelTest example, once it became clear that the bill was no longer much of a threat, we could have directed our audience to contact Jimmy Kimmel thanking him for driving awareness around pre-existing conditions. We’ll be able to say more about the next version of CallOut very soon.

In the meantime, we’re just grateful Graham-Cassidy won’t be able to pass — and we’re proud of our clients who fought for this victory.


Billy Silverman is Director of Content at BSD New York.

Want to find out more about CallOut or BSD’s approach to advocacy work? Get in touch with us.