It’s Time to Pick Up Your Phone and Make Some Calls!
Senators Lindsey Graham, Bill Cassidy, Dean Heller and Ron Johnson introduced the latest ACA repeal bill last week. It would give states block grants instead of the tax credits, Medicaid expansion and cost-sharing payments that the ACA requires. Protect Our Care IL in their Sept. 15 Weekly Digest, reports that it threatens over $1.4 billion in cuts to Medicaid in Illinois while raising premiums and cutting coverage for millions.
Even though Politico previously gave this bill a low chance to succeed, the President and leading members of the party have been lobbying Republican Senators to support it. The most recent reports show that these efforts are swaying increasing numbers of Senators! This is combined with continuing Administration threats to withhold the cost-sharing payments that stabilize the ACA individual plan marketplace and the resulting uncertainty is making insurers extremely nervous.
Premiums in Illinois are already projected to increase dramatically because of this uncertainty. Below is a script to oppose the Graham-Cassidy bill. I would also ask your Senators and Gov. Rauner to demand that cost-sharing payments be guaranteed. The Republicans should not be playing politics with our health!
From Jen Hoffman’s Weekly Activism Checklist:
Action: Oppose the Graham-Cassidy plan to repeal the ACA.
Call: Your 2 senators (lookup).
Script: Hi. I’m from [ZIP] and I’m calling to express my opposition to the Cassidy-Graham plan to repeal the ACA. Congress needs to improve the Affordable Care Act, not repeal it and leave millions of people without options. Thanks.
(Senator Duckworth – 202-224-2854)
(Senator Durbin – 202-224-2152)
(Gov. Rauner – 217-782-0244)
Americans Need Health Care and Need to Know When to Sign Up for It
From Jen Hoffman’s Weekly Activism Checklist:
Action: Counter the president’s efforts to decrease ACA enrollment.
The president has cut ACA’s advertising budget by 90%, but Americans need care. So let’s top 2017 enrollment of 11.4M through the power of social media. Ready?
Twitter: Visit this link and retweet.
Facebook: Visit this link and share the pinned post.
Bonus: Share the countdown to enrollment weekly through 12/15.
Register Your Priorities!
The Digital Resistance Survey, with members from Indivisible Illinois, Action for a Better Tomorrow, and several other partners, is compiling information on what we – voters, members of resistance groups, grass-roots organizers – want and who we are. The anonymous data that is compiled can be shared with political leaders, the media, and resistance organizations . Please note that the last couple of pages of the survey does ask for personal information to improve their data analysis and update voter rolls, but filling out this information is completely voluntary and if you choose leave it blank, you can still submit the survey and have your opinion counted. Click here for the survey.
The ACA Open Enrollment Begins Nov. 1st
ACA Consumer Advocacy is making everyone aware of the upcoming ACA enrollment period that begins Nov. 1st. The Trump Administration has cut funds used for education and notifications, so please spread this information to as many people as possible!
Next Steps In the Healthcare Battle.
In the recent news rollercoaster ride, we heard that Republicans were unable to pass bills addressing ACA ” repeal and replace”, “skinny repeal and replace”, “repeal only”, “skinny repeal” or any variation thereof. So now what?
A Washington Post article today outlines two Republican options – withhold cost-sharing payments to insurers, thereby further destabilizing the health insurance market place and cause already expensive premiums to skyrocket even higher, or work in a bipartisan fashion to guarantee the health insurance subsidies and stabilize the individual insurance marketplace. The Chicago Tribune , in a rather partisan editorial, forecast a 43% hike in rates for Illinois in the current climate of uncertainty and confusion. Donald Trump signaled his view (via tweets of course) that payments should be withheld and the ACA should “implode”.
There are a few signs of hope that this Congress may ultimately act in a responsible manner. In the Senate, Republican Lamar Alexander has called for bipartisan legislation to extend federal payments to insurers for at least a year. The House of Representatives has also formed a Problem Solvers Caucus to look at bipartisan solutions to problems such as health care. In the meantime, a coalition of 16 state attorneys general is challenging in the ability of the White House and Congress to withhold the healthcare subsidies. To ultimately improve the ACA, more must be done than simply shore up struggling insurance marketplaces, but that is at least a place to start.
The time for solutions is growing short so we must keep up the pressure on Congress to form responsible and bipartisan solutions to our current healthcare crisis.
Support and Stabilize the Affordable Care Act
This is From Jen Hoffman’s Weekly Activism Checklist: (for all of you on Twitter, I especially encourage you to take note of the bonus action and remind McConnell how our legislative process is supposed to work)
Action: Advocate for fixing ACA instead of repealing.
Call: Your 2 Senators, red or blue (lookup or leave message).
Script: Hi. I am calling because I want good, affordable health care and am tired of watching Republicans fail over and over because they’re not listening to constituents. I want [name] to start fighting for fixing what’s not working in the ACA. I want to see Senate bipartisanship and transparency in this process. Thank you.
Bonus action: Tweet McConnell:
A refresher: This is how to pass a healthcare bill. #democracy https://pbs.twimg.com/media/DEy5u5nXcAEI5yd.jpg
Tuesday July 18th is a National Day of Protest.
From Maine and South Carolina to Hawaii and Alaska, Indivisible groups are organizing rallies and die-ins, and visiting congressional offices to say that Trumpcare will hurt our friends, our families, and our country. Protests in Illinois will be in Springfield, Wheaton, Oak Park, and Chicago . The Indivisible website lists the protests across the country. just type in your zip code for one near you. If you are not able to attend a rally, call your members of Congress and Gov. Rauner (217-782-0244) on Tuesday and let them know the Senate healthcare bill will devastate many hardworking families in Illinois and across America, stripping health insurance from millions of people and shredding the vital Medicaid safety net. Let your friends and family in other states know about this National Day of Action #KillTheBill!
The Senate continues to work on ways they can repeal and replace the ACA. We need to maintain our momentum and keep reminding Senators how unpopular their replacement healthcare bill (BCRA) is.
Action: Register your opinion on health insurance on Regulations.gov by July 12.
Note: July 12 deadline!
Visit regulations.gov Please comment on the “Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act: Reducing Regulatory Burdens and Improving Health Care Choices to Empower Patients”.
While this sounds very patient-friendly, the actual goal of this act is to allow states to obtain waivers from following the Patient Protection requirements of the ACA (offering coverage for preventative care, maternity care, protection of those with pre-existing conditions etc) and allow them to sell useless health insurance policies with cheap premiums, but insufficient coverage for when you get sick.
A Brief Summary of the Health Care Forum
Palatine Public Library
During an information-packed health care forum hosted by NWSOFA (North West Suburbs Organizing For America) and Protect Our Care IL, presenters painted a clear picture of what the healthcare insurance landscape looked like before the Affordable Care Act (ACA) went into effect. Of the non-elderly population who lacked employee coverage and had to look for an individually purchased insurance plan, 17% had no insurance at all. premiums were sky-rocketing. Of those insured by individually purchased plans, 75% had no maternity care, no addiction treatment, no preventative care and a multitude of loopholes where insurance companies could deny you coverage if your care became too expensive. Medicaid was only available to those below a certain income level and additionally they had to be disabled, be a child or care-giving parent of a covered child or pregnant. Those battling chronic health conditions and the “working poor” were not eligible, despite not earning enough to afford health insurance.
When the ACA was passed, during the first year, the uninsured rate dropped from 17% to 7% and the insurance plans covered the 10 Essential Health Benefits, giving robust coverage, and banning denial of coverage for pre-existing conditions and banning life-time caps on the cost of certain coverage. Medicaid was expanded to include the “working poor” where eligibility was based on income and not a checklist of other qualifiers. Though the ACA (like most programs when they are newly launched) needed some tweaks to correct problems, it was working in providing more Americans better access to quality health care coverage.
The current health care plans being proposed by the House (AHCA) and Senate (BCRA), would roll back all progress made in providing Americans with health insurance, to the conditions found prior to the ACA. Medicaid cutbacks would devastate many hospitals, particularly those in rural areas. Loss of those hospitals would also result in loss of jobs both directly in those affected hospitals and jobs in areas that support the hospitals, further hurting those communities. Loss of coverage for many Americans would result in more people dying from preventable conditions.
The unpopularity of the recent Senate plan has resulted in some Republican Senators refusing to support the BRCA and a delay in the planned Senate vote. Although this is a temporary victory, the battle has just begun. Senate leaders will modify their plan – not necessarily for the better – and use all means to persuade enough Senators to vote and pass the BCRA
Now is the time to maintain pressure on the Senators and turn up the volume of your protest! This will be a long battle. Call your Senators, call wavering Republican Senators, join rallies, write letters to the editor, call Gov. Rauner. Do whatever you can. See our action items list for suggestions and events as they are updated. Click here (or the link in the first paragraph) for the link to all of the information sheets covered at the forum.
Rep. Brad Schneider is Hosting a Health Care Roundtable on July 7th.
The Health Care Roundtable is free and open to the public but space is limited so RSVP for a ticket now! The event on July 7th, 2-3:30 pm, will be at the Lake County Board of Health in Waukegan. For more information, click here.