Vote On Bill Banning Abortion After 20 Weeks Set for Next Week

The Reasons Behind the Senate Vote on Banning Abortion.

The Senate has scheduled a vote on a bill, already passed by the House, that bans abortions after 20 weeks, and the Trump Administration has signaled its support of this bill.   While some websites are raising the alarm, The Hill asserts that the bill has little chance of passing in the Senate with the narrow Republican majority.   According to The Hill, the purpose of scheduling this vote is to get Senators on record with their votes for or against the bill.  Anti-abortion activists are hoping that Democrats up for re-election in battleground states will suffer the consequences of their vote, while Democrats characterize the bill as an extreme assault on a woman’s right to make decisions about her health care.  This bill, titled “Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act” is based on faulty “science” mis-representing fetal development as outlined by Dr Daniel Grossman on Twitter (@DrDGrossman). When politicians insert themselves into medical decisions best made between doctors and their patients, decisions that should be based on the patient’s individual circumstances and unique needs, unintended consequences and unforeseen harm often follow.

The key to the electoral impact of the bill may be how issues-influenced voting weighs against voting based on economic factors.  As always, who shows up to vote in an election can be critical – in 2017 special elections were sometimes decided by a strong showing of voters who have previously not been active at the voting booth. As The New York Times points out in their editorial post this evening, having Democrats take back control of either house of Congress will guard against future actions to restrict reproductive freedoms. Voting in local elections is important, as are actions supporting progressive voters in red states.  Don’t forget, primaries in Illinois are March 20 and election day is November 6th – cast your vote and make your voice heard!

Pablo Manriquez Highlights January Meet-Up

Roll Call Director of Communications Pablo Manriquez

Good discussions at our January Meet-Up among our group including several new people eager to stop hand wringing and do something. Joining us from DC via skype was Roll Call Director of Communications Pablo Manriquez who fielded our questions about DACA, Trump-Russia col lusion and more.

Pablo has useful insight to help inform us on the issues and left us with a number of resources worth investigating including online news: At the Races, Fox News (yes) “Halftime Report;” and Emily Wilkins at Bloomberg for Education issues, Dean DeChiaro on Immigration and Brian Williams at 11PM on MSNBC.

Yes, Pablo’s image looks a little frightening here. He wasn’t. Good guy. We’ll have him back.

The Good News – ACA Numbers Are Up As the Enrollment Period Begins

Initial Numbers for ACA Enrollment – Over 600,000 Sign Up in the First Four Days!

The Washington Post reports that more than one in five of these are new enrollees.  The increase in numbers is despite the Trump Administration undercutting the process by shortening the enrollment period by half, slashing the TV and radio advertising budget and cutting navigator funding.  State run exchanges are also reporting brisk business as the enrollment period begins  according to CNN Money

However, this trend doesn’t predict overall ACA success as the numbers tend to fall off during the latter part of the enrollment period.  The sickest people who need insurance the most tend to sign up first, but the success of the ACA marketplace also depends on healthier people signing up to balance the risk pool.  It is important for all of us to keep spreading the word about the enrollment period and where to find help with the process (see below).

Additional Information About ACA Enrollment

From Protect Our Care IL Newsletter:

Here are the top 5 things you need to know about Open Enrollment:

  1. Open enrollment is only half as long this year (Nov 1 – Dec 15).
  2. Discounts on health coverage (through tax credits and cost sharing reductions) are STILL available to those who qualify.
  3. It’s important to shop around – the pricing of premiums is very different this year. In Illinois, you can go to HealthCare.gov or GetCoveredIllinois.gov. Eighty percent of people can get a plan for $75 or less and many in Illinois can get a bronze plan for free.
  4. You may qualify for 2018 tax credits even if you didn’t in 2017. If you aren’t eligible for tax credits (check this calculator to make sure), go to GetCoveredIllinois.gov and see if you can find a cheaper plan off marketplace.
  5. Free help is available! If you have questions about signing up or want to talk through your options with a trained professional, you can make an appointment with a trained navigator here or call Get Covered Illinois at 866-311-1119.

Calling your Representatives, A “Pick Up the Phone” How To:

One of the quickest and easiest ways to let your representatives in Washington DC know what you think on a particular issue is to pick up the phone and tell them.

Red Telephone

Seriously? I can just tell them how I want them to vote on stuff?

That’s right. Our representatives and senators (at least in the IL-10th district) want to hear what you have to say. They actually pay people to sit in a chair, pick up the phone, and tally up how many constituents are for or against a particular measure.

But there’s a dirty little secret they don’t want you to know.

Continue reading “Calling your Representatives, A “Pick Up the Phone” How To:”

IL-10 lands “On the Radar” of the GOP, NRCC

Democrat Brad Schneider is the Congressional Representative in Illinois 10th District, and that doesn’t sit well with the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC).

The IL-10 Congressional seat has flipped four times in the last four election cycles. 2010 and 2014 went to Bob Dold (R), while Brad Schneider (D) took the seat in 2012 and 2016. With 2018 just around the corner, the GOP wants IL-10 back. Continue reading “IL-10 lands “On the Radar” of the GOP, NRCC”

ACA Forum

Another Opportunity to Get Your ACA Questions Answered

The POP (People Over Party) Workshop will bring Miranda Wilgus of ACA Consumer Advocacy in to update you with the latest information on the ACA sign-ups, Medicare and Medicaid, and answer your questions on health care coverage.

Health Care Workshop information:

Sunday, November 11, 2017  1-3pm

St. Peter United Church of Christ

47 Church Street, Lake Zurich, IL

 

 

 

Affordable Care Act Update

What Is the Latest on the Rollercoaster Also Known As the ACA?

 

At the North Shore Indivisible meeting today,  Miranda Wilgus of  the ACA Consumer Advocacy group updated us on some of what has been happening with the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

Regarding ACA Enrollment:

The first item to know and to publicize among your friends and relatives is that the ACA enrollment period is shorter this year, down to 45 days instead of last year’s 3 months!  ACA enrollment starts Nov 1st and runs only through December 15.

  • In addition to shortening the enrollment period, the budget for publicizing information about the ACA has been radically slashed, leaving it to advocacy groups and service providers to spread the word.
  • Another obstacle to sign-up : the website will be down for “maintenance” every Sunday for 12 hours (!).
  • If you need help finding a navigator (someone who can help guide you through the enrollment process), visit Get Covered Illinois   for assistance.
  • After much flip-flopping, Trump signed an executive order to stop the Cost Sharing Reduction (CSR) payments.  These are payments for the silver level of ACA policies that reimburse insurance companies for the extra discounts they must give so people pay less for deductibles, co-pay and co-incurance.  The Attorneys General of 19 states (including IL) are suing the administration to reinstate these payments as they required by the law (The Affordable Care Act).
  • In the meantime, the cost of silver policies are expected to skyrocket.  Consumers should look at all levels of the policies on the ACA marketplace.  In some cases, gold policies (which offer more coverage) may even cost less than the silver level.
  • Do not let “auto-enroll” re-sign you for the silver level until you have checked out the alternatives.
  • Pay attention to details!  Sometimes prescription plans will not go into effect until medical deductibles have been met.
  • Consumer Alert!  Some disreputable insurance brokers have been cold-calling customers to sell them cheap health care policies, claiming they are part of the ACA marketplace and that they are “qualified” although they are not actually qualified.  Qualified policies provided coverage for the Essential Health Benefits mandated by the ACA.  If you buy an unqualified plan, you will be liable for the tax penalty when you file your taxes (see below).
  • Trump signed an executive order that the IRS not enforce the ACA tax penalty mandate.  This is non-binding and the IRS will still be enforcing the tax penalty!
  • Other recent executive orders: allowing associations to offer health insurance policies that do not have to follow ACA mandates and allowing businesses to not offer contraceptive coverage on the basis of moral objections as well as previously allowed religious objections.

For more information about getting covered, or if you would like to get involved, visit  ACASignUpProject.com .   Downloadable fliers to publicize enrollment information are available in English and Spanish at Indivisible ACA Signup Project Gallery.

There is a bipartisan bill in the Senate put forward by Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) and Patty Murray,(D-Wash) which would restore the CSR payments and help stabilize the ACA marketplace.  However, Mitch McConnell, Majority Leader of the Senate, will only bring the bill forward for a vote if Trump will promise to sign it.  As of now, Trump has expressed support for it, withdrawn support for it, called CSR’s “pay-offs to insurance companies” (false) and has made other demands.  The status of this bill changes by the day, occasionally by the hour, so stay tuned for further updates!

Gubernatorial Candidate Forum on Environmental Policies and Plans

Come See What the Candidates for Governor of Illinois Think About Environmental Issues

 

The University of Illinois, Chicago with Sierra Club Illinois is hosting a forum for candidates for Illinois Governor to tell us about plans for climate change, preservation of Illinois water supply and nature preserves.  See the information from the UIC events website below:

Gubernatorial Candidate Forum on the Environment

October 14, 2017

11:00 AM – 12:30 PM

Join us as we hear from candidates for Illinois Governor about our environmental challenges. What are their plans to act on climate change? Conserve Illinois’ wild places? Protect our water supply? As Trump tries to take America backward, will Illinois step up to lead on the environment?
Register at https://sierra.secure.force.com/events/details?formcampaignid=7010Z000001uuOtQAI
Paid for by Sierra Club Illinois PAC. A copy of our report filed with the State Board of Elections is (or will be) available on the Boards official website or for purchase from the State Board of Elections, Springfield, IL.

 

Show Your Kids How Change Happens-Come to an Indivisible Meeting!

Participate in Indivisible - Show Kids How Change Happens

It was difficult explaining the Trump presidency to my kids. “We’ll fix it,” I would tell them. But I didn’t know how.

That changed with my first Indivisible meeting. Under the passionate guidance of an Obama campaign staffer, Scott Horwitz, we brainstormed ideas and developed action plans. I loved meeting people who were “doing” rather than endlessly “griping” on social media!

Indivisible provides a forum for you to get involved in any issue in any way that interests you. For me, it’s candidate tracking and keeping our 10th Congressional District Blue in 2018. You might choose to track legislation, register people to vote,or engage with other interest groups networked with Indivisible. There are so many ideas!

Now when my kids are scared by the headlines and manic tweets, I tell them, “Don’t worry. We have a plan. Here’s what I’m doing to change this.”

Come. Listen. Engage.

J.P., Deerfield