Q: It seems like this was the moment when you shifted from just counting down on ACA implementation to actively giving us meaningful numbers. What was the trigger? Did you know then that you'd do a three-week countdown?
Emma Sandoe: I came to DC over five years ago to pass, and then work on, the Affordable Care Act. I'm just so excited about the implementation that I felt the urge to tell the Twitter world; however, I think people got tired of my tweets saying, "This is so exciting!"
I've had a countdown in my office forever, but one day I looked at it and just decided to tweet about it. I knew then that I'd do it every day.
Q: What's your process? Do you know all of these random presidential facts and mathematical formulas? If not, how are you finding them?
Sandoe: Before work, I quickly read the Wikipedia page [for the number]. When I have time or am walking somewhere I'll tweet something I can remember about the number. I am a sucker for presidential trivia and spend every President's Day [holiday] learning facts about a different presidentthat part comes easy. I also encounter a lot of facts about states that I like to share.
Dan, they aren't math formulas, they are facts about numbers. If I could do this life thing again, I'd be a mathematician.
Q: You've tweeted dozens of these facts in the past two weeks. Which ones have been your favorites?
A guitar has 6 strings. If one of them breaks and hits your eyes you will need health insurance. Get it in 6 days! #getcovered— Emma Sandoe (@emma_sandoe) September 25, 2013
Q: Has anyone tweeted random facts back at you? If so, any good ones?
Sandoe: While [President Obama] was speaking at Prince Georges Community College, I was speaking with Sam Baker of The Hill ... Sam said "this college must have five of something," and I quickly searched for five related facts. I was lucky that Google told me it was the fifth largest college in Maryland.
People mainly like to dispute my soccer facts. Soccer seems extremely popular amongst the health policy Twitter community.
Q: This isn't just a super-stealth CMS campaign, is it? (I assume you're doing it on your own time.)
Sandoe: I'm doing this all on my own, without any influence from my employer.
Q: Do you have any tweets already planned for the next few days? What are you going to do when we hit zero?
Sandoe: Nothing is planned until the day of [Oct. 1].
I love, and live, and breathe for Medicaid. I can't wait until Medicaid coverage expansion begins on January 1st. I'm not promising a countdown—but there [are] enough Medicaid facts for me to be busy until the end of the year.