Head Smacker: They’re trying to repeal the ACA…again


September 20, 2017

Millions of Americans breathed a sigh of relief in July when the Senate failed – by one vote – to repeal the Affordable Care Act. But despite hearing from millions of you, their constituents, before, during, and after their summer recess, Senate leaders are at it again. They are trying one more time to end Medicaid as we know it, make insurance unaffordable for low- and middle-income families, and strip coverage and critical protections from millions. And they’re trying to do it in the next week and a half.
The latest iteration of an ACA repeal bill, known in D.C. as the Graham-Cassidy bill, would have the same disastrous effects as previous attempts. According to our friends at FamiliesUSA and the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, the bill would slash funding for Medicaid expansion and marketplace subsidies and turn that funding into a block grant to states. The regular Medicaid program will have its funding capped, which will result in cuts and end Medicaid as we know it. State waivers would effectively end essential benefit standards, like coverage for maternity care. Between 2020 – 2026, states would lose $239 billion in subsidies and Medicaid cuts. After 2026, the block grant for insurance subsidies and Medicaid expansion will end – a repeal of most of the Affordable Care Act with no replacement specified.

There is no official estimate yet of how many people would lose health insurance, how much premiums will rise, or how this this last-ditch effort will affect the deficit. And because the Congressional Budget Office – Congress’s scorekeeper – won’t have enough time to provide an estimate before the end of the month, it’s likely that senators will vote without knowing these critical parts of the bill’s impact. That in itself is a head smacker. What we do know is that previous plans with similar “repeal but not replace” provisions have been estimated to result in 32 million people nationwide losing coverage. Our friends at the Center for American Progress released an estimate of premium hikes for people with pre-existing conditions (including pregnancy), and it’s terrifying.

Senate leaders are trying to ram this bill through now because the chamber only has until September 30 to pass a health care repeal bill with only a simple majority; after that they’ll need 60 votes. They are close to getting the 50 votes they now need, with Vice President Pence as a tie-breaker. House leaders have already said they’ll pass the bill if the Senate does, and President Trump has said he’d sign it. To ramp up the pressure on GOP senators, only a few of whom are seen as being undecided, the White House has also said it will not support bipartisan efforts to “fix” or “prop up” the Affordable Care Act. Another head smacker.

To put it bluntly: all of the work we’ve all done collectively to stop the repeated ACA repeal efforts comes down to the next 10 days.

Please call your senators and urge them to vote no on this horrible bill. Even if you’ve already called your senators about this, please call them again. It’s that important that we recreate the outcry against ACA repeal that saved coverage for millions a few months ago. We need to do that one more time. You can call the Capitol switchboard at (202) 224-3121.

If you already know your senators are opposed to repealing the ACA, you can still make a difference! Our friends at Indivisible have a great tool that allows you to call a voter in a key state with a swing Republican senator. The folks you’ll call are friends — they attended the Women’s March, they’re standing up to #DefendDACA, and/or fight for progressive causes. You’ll remind them why the continued fight against ACA repeal is so important — and why they have particular power in this moment, and you’ll ask them to call their senator in opposition to the bill. Then, Indivisible’s tool will allow you to automatically patch them through to their senators’ district offices. Click here to check it out!

In addition to making calls, you can also tweet at your senators and representative (you can find their Twitter handles at the respective hyperlinks) to amplify your message and spread the word to other advocates. A few suggested tweets you can use are below. Thanks for all you’re doing.

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