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CPEHN’s #Fight4OurHealth Policy Round-Up: Feb. 27- Mar. 4

CPEHN’s #Fight4OurHealth Policy Round-Up: Feb. 27- Mar. 4

This past week thousands of constituents showed up at California town hallsvigils, and search parties for Republican representatives back in district but missing in action on health care. Democratic leaders were also drawing crowds. More than 2500 people gathered in Santa Rosa Saturday to hear Congressman Mike Thompson and other lawmakers discuss the effects of repealing the ACA. The press is paying attention to the public outcry, and polling shows that support for the ACA is at an all-time high. The pressure on D.C. lawmakers to come up with a replacement plan for the ACA isn’t just coming from voters. Governors, including John Kasich (R-Ohio), gathered this week, calling for a plan that will protect the millions of dollars in Medicaid expansion their states receive. But a leaked GOP ACA replacement plan did little to assuage their fears. Among other things, the plan would undermine the two main ways Californians get coverage, through Medi-Cal and on the job benefits. It would also defund Planned Parenthood. The Republicans show few signs of unifying around a single plan, with former Speaker, John Boehner (R-Ohio), going so far as to say repeal and replace will not happen, they will “repair” the law, and “put a more conservative box around it.”

As the #Fight4OurHealth continues, the President is directing his administration to unleash the full force of the federal government to find, arrest and deport those in the country illegally, whether or not they have committed serious crimes, expanding the number of people at risk of deportation by millions.

There is still more work to do to defend our health care, protect our economic security and fight for the rights of all of our communities. Check out CPEHN’s #ACADefenseHub to learn more about California’s #Fight4OurHealth campaign and how to get involved.

Re-Cap of ACA Repeal Efforts:
Here is a quick overview of actions this past week:

What to Expect this Week (February 27-March 3):

Process in Congress:

  • The House leadership has sent draft legislative language to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO). The CBO’s role is to estimate the cost of the proposed reconciliation legislation components. They will also likely analyze how the proposals will impact the number of individuals who have health insurance coverage.
  • Advocates have heard that the House is sending a range of proposals to CBO for analysis including:
    • Re-establishing high risk pools for those with pre-existing conditions. This is one option states would have to cover their residents with pre-existing conditions. California’s high-risk pool offered long waits for coverage, high prices, limited benefits and few health plans choices. The waits were so long that some Californians died waiting for coverage.
    • Expanding the use of tax-deductible Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) to pay for medical expenses. HSAs are only beneficial to those who can afford to save. Low-income Californians will be forced to choose between paying for necessities like food and housing or paying for medical care. Regardless of a person's ability to save, one major accident could still wipe out an entire savings.
    • Repealing the Medicaid Expansion and drastically cutting funds for all Medicaid enrollees. This will threaten coverage for 3.7 million newly insured adults as well as millions of seniors, people with disabilities, children and pregnant women who currently rely on the program for comprehensive care.
    • Repealing ACA tax credit subsidies and replacing them with a flat tax credit that is tied to age rather than income. Under this scenario a retired Silicon Valley executive would get the same credit as a small business owner the same age, living near the poverty line.
    • Repealing health insurance industry taxes necessary to pay for the ACA, except for a tax on employer sponsored coverage.
  • Advocates continue to hear that the House is setting a target for the week of February 27th or the week of March 6th to begin moving the reconciliation package through the committee process. 
  • Once the House committees have voted on the legislation, the bill will move to the House floor for a vote. The House will then send the approved legislation to the Senate.
  • Typically the Senate would then put the House language through its own committee process. However, we are again hearing that the bill will skip the Senate committees and go directly to the floor. At that point, Senate rules require 20 hours of debate before a vote. Only 51 votes are required to pass budget reconciliation in the Senate.
  • Moving the legislation through the House and Senate is expected to take three to four weeks. If Congress is able to meet this timeline, the budget reconciliation legislation will be sent to President Trump by late March or early April. However, as we have seen the timeline is proving to be extremely fluid and much is still uncertain.

Advocacy Actions for Partners:

  • Get informed! Read our fact sheets about what is at risk for our health care and mental health.
  • Share your story. Tell us how the ACA has helped you or your family! Your Voice Counts!!!
  • Call your representative! Dial the Capitol switchboard at: (202) 224-3121 or click here.
    • (You will be asked to type in your name, number, email and address, after which you will receive a short message with talking points before being patched through to your representative).
  • Get loud on social media! Use #Fight4OurHealth!
  • We have a NEW Spanish language #Fight4OurHealth Facebook page!
  • Join our congressional district visits! Reach out to our Communications and Outreach Associate, Rocio Gonzalez at rgonzalez@cpehn.org to get involved.

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