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CPEHN’s #Fight4OurHealth Policy Round-Up: March 20 - March 26

CPEHN’s #Fight4OurHealth Policy Round-Up: March 20 - March 26


Your actions are making a difference! Last week the GOP went from insisting Republicans in the House would fall in line behind the American Health Care Act (AHCA), the GOP’s plan to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA), to admitting the bill will need to change to pass. Despite talk of making small tweaks to the bill, (which would include work requirements for Medicaid recipients) and the president saying he is 100% behind it, passage is still in doubt.

"My whip count indicates that there are 40 no's," enough to defeat the bill, said Rep. Mark Meadows (R-North Carolina), who leads the hardline House Freedom Caucus. Across the Capitol, Sen. Dean Heller (R-Nevada), facing re-election next year, became the fourth Republican senator to announce his opposition. That left Senate GOP leaders at least two votes shy of what they need, even though they control the chamber 52-48.

Why the sudden case of nerves by GOP leaders after seven years of promising to repeal the ACA?

An analysis of last week’s Congressional Budget Office (CBO) score showed the bill will cost 24 million mostly poor, elderly people their health coverage over the next 10 years, while billions of dollars are funneled towards the rich and insurance companies. This is giving moderates heartburn, while the right wing Freedom Caucus says the bill doesn’t cut enough. Our rallies, phone calls and letters are keeping the pressure up on the California House delegation but your continued support is needed!

As we’ve said before, the bill will be devastating to California. It will be especially hard on seniors, young people, low-income individuals, and immigrants. A new Kaiser Poll shows that Americans are deeply skeptical of the AHCA, with less than a quarter of voters thinking the new plan is a good idea. Even conservative Charles Krauthammer says the bill is a moral and political failure that the GOP should be ashamed of.

The coming week could be the most important yet in our efforts. We have a list of ways you can get involved below.

Re-Cap of Last Week’s Activities:

  • March 13: The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) released its analysis of the impact of the GOP plan on insurance rates finding that the bill will cause an additional 24 million individuals to become uninsured by 2026. See CPEHN’s analysis for more details on the CBO score. In response, Covered California, California’s marketplace, released its own preliminary analysis which finds low-income seniors and people in particular geographic regions like Northern California will be most negatively impacted by the GOP’s plan.
  • March 13: The Senate confirmed Seema Verma as administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).
  • March 14: CMS head, Seema Verma and Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary, Tom Price sent a letter to the nation’s governors, urging states to alter the insurance program for poor and disabled people by charging them insurance premiums, requiring them to pay part of emergency room bills and prodding them to get jobs. The letter also derides the Medicaid expansion that 31 states and the District of Columbia adopted under the ACA.
  • March 16: President Trump released his 2018 $1.1 trillion budget outline which proposes a $54 billion increase in defense spending and $3 billion for stepped up deportation activities and a border wall, while threatening to cut non-defense spending at the Health and Human Services Agency, the State Department, the Department of Housing and Urban Development, the Environmental Protection Agency and the wholesale elimination of key federal programs. See CPEHN’s statement for our reaction to the President’s budget outline and additional information on the proposed cuts.

What to Expect This Week (March 20-26th): 

  • Late this week, Republicans hope to send the language from the Rules committee to the floor of the House. Since the Republicans have been attempting to tie this process to symbolic dates, our best guess is the House will hold a floor vote on March 23rd (the 7thanniversary of the passage of the ACA).
  • Once the House has voted on the legislation, Republicans hope the bill will begin moving through the Senate during the week of March 27th. Typically the Senate would put the House language through its own committee process. However, advocates are hearing that the bill will skip the Senate committees and go directly to the floor. 
  • 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.
  • The bill can be amended at any stage of this process though advocates continue to expect that the general framework will remain more or less intact.
  • If Congress is able to meet this timeline, the final legislation will be sent to President Trump prior to the April legislative recess which is scheduled for April 10-21. However, as advocates have seen the timeline is proving to be extremely fluid and much remains uncertain.

Field Updates:
We thank all our partners for consistent action to keep the pressure up on California’s Congressional delegation. Here are updates from some of the events last week: 

  • March 12: Emergency Town Hall with Oakland’s Congresswoman Barbara Lee was well attended by lawmakers and voters. CPEHN Executive Director, Sarah de Guia was one of the key speakers. See KRON 4 News clip here.
  • March 16: Seniors speak out!  Seniors spoke out against the GOP plan in Sacramento. HOS member, Seidy Gastelum from Fathers and Families of San Joaquin attended the Capitol rally and collected stories. Similar rallies in San Diego and Los Angeles on Friday were also well attended and covered by the press, we’ll share clips next week!
  • March 16: Women’s Health Care National Day of Action. HOS member California Latinas for Reproductive Justice hosted a national day of action and encouraged folks to call 3 priority legislators (Walters, Issa, Denham) about the harmful consequences of ACA repeal/replace for women of color and their families. 

Get Involved:

  • Participate in an event! Check out our ACA defense hub for events this week. Highlights include:
    • March 22, Fresno, State Assembly Hearing on the AHCA from 1-4PM. California’s Assembly Health and Budget Sub 1 Committee are holding a joint hearing on the AHCA and the cost of the proposed legislation to Californians at the Fresno City Hall Chambers.
    •  March 23, Los Angeles Rally to Save the ACA at 12PM. Rally to Save the ACA on its 7th Anniversary: Los Angeles City Hall 200 North Spring Street, Los Angeles, California 90012.
    • March 24, San Diego, State Senate Hearing on the AHCA from 2:30-5:30PM. California’s State Senate is holding an informational hearing on the AHCA and what’s at stake, in San Diego at the Fowler Family Ballroom, Parma Payne Goodall Alumni, 5500 Campanile Drive, San Diego, CA 92182.
  • 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 may be asked to type in your name, number, email and address before being patched through to your representative).
  • Get loud on social media! Use #Fight4OurHealth #LuchaXnuestraSalud!

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