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CPEHN’s #Fight4OurHealth Policy Round-Up: March 13 - March 18

CPEHN’s #Fight4OurHealth Policy Round-Up: March 13 - March 18

URGENT ACTION NEEDED DAILY FOR THE NEXT MONTH

Last week Republican leaders released the American Health Care Act (AHCA), their plan to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The plan was crafted secretly, with no debate or Congressional Budget Office (CBO) Score, so right now there is no official word on what it would cost and how many people would have access to insurance. Two key House committees, Ways and Means and Energy and Commerce released drafts of their respective reconciliation language and immediately started marking-up the bills, giving Democrats little time to analyze and respond to the GOP Plan. On Thursday, March 9 at 4:30am, the House Ways and Means Committee approved the tax penalty repeal provision of the ACA after an 18-hour session, while Energy and Commerce passed the policy provisions later that same day.

Many members of the California GOP delegation in Congress are dissatisfied with the plan. The plan would seriously undermine Medicaid resulting in millions of Californians losing vital health care coverage including access to mental health and preventive services. Additionally, California insurance commissioner Dave Jones warned that repealing the individual mandate will destabilize the insurance market in California, lead to higher prices, and knock millions of low-income individuals off their current coverage. You can read CPEHN’s full analysis of the bill here.

CPEHN believes that any replacement plan needs to maintain the same level of coverage that the ACA currently provides or it should offer better coverage to more people at a better price. The Republican ideas do none of these things, and in fact do the opposite, with out of pocket costs spiking not just for ACA policy holders, but potentially for people with employer sponsored health care as well.

This is a crucial time to rally in defense of our health care, protect our economic security, and fight for the rights of all of our communities. CPEHN is actively engaged in the campaign to protect our health care and will be updating you with the latest ACA defense and policy developments, as well as actions you can take to make a difference. 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:

  • Thousands attended town hall meetings held by Congressmen Issa and Hunter on Saturday. Republicans continue to say people complaining about the legislation are “sore losers” who don’t believe in the democratic process. However, Congressman Issa was quoted as saying he did not approve of the current bill and was working to change it.
  • Orange County: An emergency town hall in Orange County demanded that Rep. Mimi Walters (who sits on the Energy and Commerce committee) not vote to repeal the ACA.
  • Central Valley: An emergency press conference was held outside of Doctors Hospital in Modesto on Thursday (3/9) in response to the GOP repeal plan. CPEHN’s Having Our Say partners were in attendance.
  • Bay Area: On Sunday, hundreds showed up for an emergency Bay Area Town Hall with Rep. Barbara Lee organized by the #Fight4OurHealth campaign. The meeting featured CPEHN's, Executive Director, Sarah de Guia, as well as state and local legislative leaders and individuals who would be harmed by ACA repeal. 

What to Expect this Week (March 13-18):

  • The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) is expected to release their cost estimate or “score” for the legislation as early as today. The CBO score will be important in determining the impact of the GOP plan on health care coverage and costs.
  • Republicans hope to send the approved bill language from Ways and Means and Energy and Commerce to the Budget Committee to combine the language into one bill.
  • The Budget Committee is required to certify that the legislation meets the parameters laid out in the reconciliation instructions. The instructions mandate savings by the federal government of at least 2 billion dollars over the next ten years. The Budget Committee needs to have a cost estimate or “score” for the legislation from the Congressional Budget Office (“CBO”).
  • Once the Budget Committee certifies that the legislation meets the reconciliation requirements, the committee will vote to pass the legislation. Then it will be sent to the Rules Committee for a vote.

March 20th and beyond…

  • During the week of March 20, Republicans hope to send the agreed upon language from the Rules committee to the floor of the House. Currently, we do not believe that the Republican leadership has the votes for passage and may not have the votes locked down even when the bill hits the House floor. They will be working the House members to vote in favor of the reconciliation legislation from now through the roll call vote on the floor.
  • Once the House has voted on the legislation, Republicans hope the bill will begin moving through the Senate during the week of March 27. Typically the Senate would put the House language through its own committee process. However, we are hearing that the bill will skip the Senate committees and go directly to the floor.
  • Once the bill arrives in the Senate, the Parliamentarian will certify what portions are sufficiently related to the federal budget. Any items that do not meet this test will be eliminated from the legislation. 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. If the Senate does not pass the same bill as the House, the Senate will send the bill back to the House for one last vote.

If Congress is able to meet this timeline, the final legislation will be sent to President Trump prior to the April recess which is scheduled for April 10-21

Get Involved:

  • Share your thoughts! CPEHN and partners encourage advocates to participate in phone banking throughout the state.
  • San Diego: Congress Member Darrell Issa wants to hear from folks about the Republican Repeal Plan and he is asking for your opinion via Twitter.  Want to give him a piece of your mind?  https://twitter.com/DarrellIssa
  • Participate in an event! Check out our ACA defense hub for events next week statewide!
  • 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.
  • Get loud on social media! Use #Fight4OurHealth!
  • Visit the 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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