If you’re like me, you are very, very angry. Fortunately, we can take action that can make a difference.
Two House committees approved legislation that would gut the Affordable Care Act and Medicaid. It is a pretty monstrous example of Reverse Robin Hood: millions of low/moderate income people would be robbed of their health insurance to pay for $600 billion in tax cuts for the rich and the insurance/drug/medical industries. Not exaggerating – see below, but first, here’s how to call and write:
To call your rep’s Washington office, call the Capitol Switchboard at (202) 224-3121.
If your rep’s DC office is busy (a good sign), try their district office(s). Find the numbers by going to www.house.gov, putting in your zip code in the upper right, and then clicking on your member’s name – their website will have the numbers.
Tell your representative: Please vote no on the legislation to dismantle Medicaid and the Affordable Care Act being considered in the House. It will end affordable coverage for millions of low- and middle-income Americans while handing $600 billion in tax cuts to the rich, including insurance and drug companies.
To email, just click here.
The bill is expected to get to the House floor during the week of March 20. So you have time to call or email your representative, and to tell everyone you know to do the same. It is not a done deal. Unfortunately, some members are so right-wing the bill doesn’t cut fast or far enough for them. Others are worried about the impact of ending the Medicaid expansion, or about the harm to their communities by ending the requirement that insurance cover mental health and addiction treatment. Whatever the source of their concerns, if there are not 218 votes, the health care law is not repealed and Medicaid is not dismantled.
We are being helped by throngs of people making their views known. Your voice matters, whether your rep. is solidly against the gutting legislation or for it. Your call or email adds to the sense (and the news coverage) that constituents care deeply and do not want to pay more for less, or lose insurance altogether.
And if you’re like me, you don’t like to find out that while millions will lose health care, health insurance providers get a tax cut worth about $145 billion over 10 years, and another tax break on the compensation of insurance execs who get paid more than $500,000. And that rich people will get $158 billion from a reduction in taxes on their investments. Oh, and medical device manufacturers and drug companies get tax cuts too. And tanning salons. That’s Wealthcare.
Those are some of the winners. Who loses? A 27 year old in Penobscot, Maine earning $20,000 a year gets $3,760 in Affordable Care Act insurance subsidies now. The new Wealthcare bill only provides $2,000. Health insurance costs more for older people. Wealthcare provides $4,000 for 60 year olds; back in Penobscot, that person would get subsidies worth $11,260. Similar stories in Fayetteville County, Illinois (the $20,000-earning 27 year old gets $4,700 now, and the 60 year old gets $13,700) and Perry County, Ohio (27 year old: $3,680; 60 year old: $11,050). The Wealthcare approach varies by age, but the $2,000 for the younger person and the $4,000 for the older one stays the same no matter how much insurance actually costs around the country. (See the numbers for your part of the country at the Kaiser Family Foundation’s website, here. Not everyone does worse under the new plan, but low-income and older people get slammed in most places.)
And don’t forget about Medicaid: the Medicaid expansion that has provided health insurance to 11 million people would be shut down over time. The basic Medicaid program is dismantled: capped at rates lower than the Medicaid program would be expected to grow, and so shifting more and more of the burden to states ($370 billion worth). This will affect the whole Medicaid program, including 63 million people, 30 million of whom are children. States will get more flexibility, but with so much less money, that will be flexibility to cut benefits or eligibility, or to make the poor pay more.
More that makes me angry: Rep. Dave Brat (R-VA) was quoted in the publication Axios about the 20 million who might lose health coverage: “The 20 million, you can handle through the safety net. We’ve always been a generous country.” Um, Rep. Brat, Medicaid is the safety net – that’s what you’d be gutting. Or Rep. Roger Marshall (R-KS), quoted in the Washington Post: “There is a group of people that just don’t want health care and aren’t going to take care of themselves.” He added that “morally, spiritually, socially,” the poor, including the homeless, “just don’t want health care.” CHN has been doing a number of blog posts about people who have been helped by Medicaid. They tell very different stories: read about Brad or Bobby or Susan.
But don’t go away mad: Take action! Use the social media tools on this page to share this with others!