The Not So Great Communicator
I thought it was just me, but the Big Lug Nut and posse don't answer calls or return e-mails period...
Ring. Ring. Ring. Click. Hello. You've reached the office of Gov. Chet Culver. We're sorry we can't take your call right now. We're very busy managing the latest state crisis...Please leave your name, phone number and a brief message after the tone, and we'll return your call just as soon as we can. Like maybe in November 2010. Beep!
Back on August 28 (No Charge), I had e-mailed the BLN about a mailing my wife received bearing the return address of Office of The Governor next to The Great Seal Of The State Of Iowa.
I wanted to know three simple questions:
How would the Governor get my wife's name?
What is the cost associated with this mailing?
Who paid for it?
On September 5th (Hello), I had found the answers to the last two questions on my own.
I still had no response from the BLN, so I e-mailed again stating, "This is my second attempt for a response, the first was sent 8/28".
Another week went by and nada, zip, zero, zilch and the scientific community is united in that fact.
On 9/13 I e-mailed, "This is my third attempt in the last three weeks to get an answer, the first was sent on 8/28 and the second on 9/5".
I patiently waited another week and sent this e-mail on 9/20, "This is the fourth straight week I've sent an e-mail seeking an answer. The first was sent on 8/28, the second on 9/5 and the third one on 9/13. This is hardly being constituent focused".
Finally a response was received on 9/24, but came out of the office of the Iowa Insurance Division?!?!?!
Thank you for your recent inquiry to the Governor’s office regarding questions you had about the “Own Your Future” campaign. The Governor’s office forwarded these concerns to me to answer as I am the project lead for “Own Your Future” and will happily answer your questions.
Your first question was how the Governor got your name to send the letter. This planning campaign is a joint initiative between the federal and state governments. The letters are from Governor Culver, but the fulfillment (printing, postage, and sending) is all part of the responsibility of the federal partner agency, US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), through its Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. The names, and addresses that were used in fulfillment for this program came from a national list vendor, named Catalyst Direct (http://www.catalystdirect.com) which derives its lists from publicly available data sets.
You next asked how much this cost and who paid. The cost of fulfillment, as I hinted to before, comes from HHS. As far as how much it costs, perhaps the easiest way to answer this question is to say that in general the selected states that participate each year in the “Own Your Future” campaigns have to share resources of $3,000,000 per year. This money, since it is used to send letters to 45-65 year-olds in each state, is not evenly split due to different numbers of this demographic in each state. The funding for this initiative came out of the Deficit Reduction Act of 2005, and is designed to help build awareness around planning for long-term care which would likely reduce the number of people that utilize the Medicaid program for their funding of long-term care. Nationally Medicaid pays more that $120,000,000,000 per year for long-term care services. I only provide this amount so that you can compare the amounts and draw your own conclusion as to the worth of the expense of this initiative.
I hope I have given you enough information, but if not, please do not hesitate to contact me.
It took over four weeks to dump my e-mail onto someone else?
Not even an apology from the BLN's staff for the bumbling of my original inquiry, or an explanation of who and why it was forwarded to someone else.
How difficult was this?