Friends, please don’t be lulled by the current appearance of disarray among Republicans over the repeal and so-called "replacement" of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), otherwise known as Obamacare. Huge pressures are being brought to bear to get it passed, and many of the folks who are currently expressing concern will get walloped by millions of dollars in advertising from the Koch Brothers among other hammers.
It’s up to us to bring a bigger hammer to save health care. Not only will around 25 million people lose health insurance altogether under the plan; it will cause prices to skyrocket and benefits to tank for insurance provided by employers and individual plans bought outside of the ACA market. It also makes Planned Parenthood ineligible for reimbursement for serving Medicaid clients, including in many parts of the country where its clinics are the only health-care provider. In other words, it makes everyone worse off.
Here are just a few of the many analyses showing just how bad this proposed repeal-and-“replace” plan could be:
- Trading Health Care for the Poor for Tax Cuts for the Rich
- Consumers Union Gives American Health Care Act a Failing Grade
- Congressional Budget Office Review of the American Health Care Act
- White House Analysis of Obamacare Repeal Sees Even Deeper Insurance Losses Than CBO
These 3 Powerful Groups Are Slamming the GOP’s Obamacare Replacement Plan
(AARP, AMA, American Hospital Association)
Key Facts on the “Repeal and Replace” Bill
I believe this battle is winnable — and a defeat of the Republicans on their signature issue will have a huge effect on their momentum going forward.
The next step is to railroad it through the Senate, skipping all committees, with no hearings, and going straight to a vote on the Senate floor. The aim is to pass it before the April 7 Congressional recess. That's about a month to consider the most radical restructuring of health care ever (versus a year and a half to create Obamacare). Some Republican senators have declared the House plan dead on arrival; but Senate leaders wouldn’t be promoting such a rapid schedule unless they thought they could round up the votes.
On the other hand, if we can peel off something like 22 votes in the House or 3 in the Senate, the plan doesn’t pass, at least this round. (This assumes all Democrats will vote “no,” which is likely, but not a 100% safe bet.)
Three Actions You Can Take
① Call or visit a local office of your own Senators and Representative, even if they are reliably opposed to repealing ACA. At an “Emergency Town Hall” in Berkeley, CA on March 12, Rep. Barbara Lee said it’s important for her and other supportive legislators to hear from us because it gives them more courage and motivation, and it gives them stories to share with other Members of Congress. Moreover, some Democrats are not always reliable progressive votes. If possible, phone your elected officials’ offices, or even stop in. If you have a personal story to tell about how ACA has helped you or a loved one, or what would happen to you if it were repealed, tell it; that’s the most effective communication, as it underscores how dedicated you are on this issue (and that you won’t forget come election time).
ACA brought my health insurance cost down from over $1,000 to under $200 per month, and is enabling me to pay off debts incurred in a health crisis in 2003, which will be paid off in the next couple of years — unless my insurance cost skyrockets again, as it would under the Republican plan. Elected officials’ contact information including Washington phone numbers may be found via Common Cause — click through to an official’s Web site for local office addresses and phones.
The following Republican Senators have expressed doubt about the House plan and may be persuadable according to the ACLU and MoveOn (with a couple thrown in by myself based on news reports, indicated by * asterisks):
- Arkansas: Sen. Tom Cotton
- Arizona: Sen. Jeff Flake
- Kentucky: Sen. Rand Paul* [thinks House plan isn’t draconian enough]
- Louisiana: Sen. Bill Cassidy
- Maine: Sen. Susan Collins
- Nevada: Sen. Dean Heller
- Texas: Sen. Ted Cruz* — undecided
These four Republican Senators wrote to Senate Majority Leader McConnell objecting to the severe Medicaid cutbacks:
- Alaska: Sen. Lisa Murkowski
- Colorado: Sen. Cory Gardner
- Ohio: Sen. Rob Portman
- West Virginia: Sen. Shelly Moore Capito
The following members of the House of Representatives are being targeted by MoveOn:
- Arizona 2nd District: Rep. Martha McSally
- California 10th District: Rep. Jeff Denham
- California 21st District: Rep. David Valadao
- California 25th District: Rep. Steve Knight
- California 39th District: Rep. Ed Royce
- California 45th District: Rep. Mimi Walters
- California 48th District: Rep. Dana Rohrabacher
- California 49th District: Rep. Darrell Issa
- Colorado 6th District: Rep. Mike Coffman
- Florida 26th District: Rep. Carlos Curbelo
- Florida 27th District: Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen
- Illinois 6th District: Rep. Peter Roskam
- Kansas 3rd District: Rep. Kevin Yoder
- Minnesota 3rd District: Rep. Erik Paulsen
- New Jersey 7th District: Rep. Leonard Lance
- New York 24th District: Rep. John Katko
- Pennsylvania 6th District: Rep. Ryan Costello
- Pennsylvania 7th District: Rep. Pat Meehan
- Texas 23rd District: Rep. Will Hurd
- Texas 32nd District: Rep. Pete Sessions
- Texas 7th District: Rep. John Culberson
- Virginia 10th District: Rep. Barbara Comstock
- Washington 8th District: Rep. Dave Reichert
If you want to see a map of any state’s Congressional districts to determine whether you know constituents of any of the targeted representatives, visit this page and select the desired state: https://www.govtrack.us/congress/members. You can zoom in on the map to see some cities in a given district. For other states, change "CA" at the end to the desired two-letter state abbreviation.
③ Make phone calls to likely ACA supporters in red districts/states and urge them to get active. You can make calls on your own from home via this page: http://rebuildthehope.org/health-care/. (Note: The sign-up to host a phone bank doesn’t work as of this writing; you get an e-mail that asks for more information, but the reply address doesn’t work. But you can still use this page to make calls.)
Invite friends to read this post (direct link:
http://effectiveprogressive.org/the-effective-progressive-time-to-fight4ourhealth) and act accordingly. And feel free to report what action you’re taking, add your thoughts, and ask questions in the comments below.
We can win this struggle — and literally save many lives — if we gear up and get into action now. Let’s do this!
Support this blog — help make it possible for us to continue sharing tips for progressive activism, securing your data against government snooping, etc.