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CPEHN’s #Fight4OurHealth Policy Round-Up: March 27 - April 1

CPEHN’s #Fight4OurHealth Policy Round-Up: March 27 - April 1

The failure of the GOP’s American Health Care Act (AHCA) is a victory we can all be proud of.  Our calls, letters, town halls and vigils made a difference! The Affordable Care Act (ACA) remains the law of the land, and the GOP’s morally bankrupt AHCA went down in flames. The Republicans could not build a consensus to pass a plan that would cause higher premiums and deductibles, 24 million people losing coverage, the dismantling of Medicaid, and billions of dollars in tax breaks for the wealthy and corporations. Millions of us-- from all walks of life, have spoken out against this plan and CPEHN vows to continue to make our voices heard.

There are already other wins. Two states—North Carolina and Kansas will be expanding Medicaid to cover more people now that ACA will not be repealed.

But as Democratic Chair Perez said on NPR, “No one is spiking the football, yet.”  We know the attacks from the Administration are not over, with HHS Director Tom Price continuing to undermine the ACA administratively and Republicans still talking about defunding Planned Parenthood and Medicaid “reform.” The President also tweeted Saturday that he was ready to let the ACA explode.

In the next election we won’t forget California Republicans, McCarthy, McClintock, Nunes, Rohrabacher, Walters and others who were ready to sacrifice health care to give tax cuts to the wealthy, or unwilling to speak out against this reckless bill. The upcoming Congressional recess, April 10-21 is a good time to let our Congressional representatives know how we feel about their actions.

What happened last week?

  • Tuesday, March 21: The Republicans made some changes to the final bill. The CBO report on the revised AHCA showed that the new plan would have resulted in at least 24 million elderly and poor people losing health care coverage.
  • Wednesday, March 22: Negotiations continued. While the Freedom Caucus was no longer voting as a block, the GOP still didn’t have the votes to pass the bill. Trump threatened, ‘pass the bill or lose your jobs.’
  • Thursday, March 23: On the seven year anniversary of the ACA, the vote was supposed to take place but ended up being postponed until Friday. Trump dealt an ultimatum: ‘pass it on Friday or we move on.’
  • Friday, March 24: The vote was scheduled for 3:30pm but Speaker Ryan pulled the legislation after moderate Republicans got cold feet, and most of the Freedom Caucus continued to oppose the legislation. House Speaker Ryan held a press conference at 4pm where he admitted defeat and declared, “Obamacare is still the law of the land.

What’s Next?
The Republicans say they will not revisit health care legislation for at least a year. However HHS Secretary, Tom Price, who is no fan of the ACA will likely continue to use his administrative power to make changes to the law such as weakening the ACA’s mandate on individuals and employers, or shortening the open enrollment period to buy subsidized converge. Republicans still want to defund Planned Parenthood and “reform” Medicaid by providing states with incentives to institute work, premium, or contribution requirements which would further limit access to care for Medicaid enrollees.  

Additionally, President Trump could follow through on his threat to weaken the ACA by slashing federal funds for health and human services or pulling back advertising for the federal website as he did in 2016 just before the crucial final weeks of open enrollment, dampening enrollment numbers. At the legislative level, the President and some Republicans are talking about reaching across the aisle to work on reforms. At the same time, Senator Bernie Sanders will sponsor single payer legislation. The situation is still fluid and no one is certain what the next challenge will be.

Keep our Eyes on the Prize
We have created a strong and powerful coalition of people who are willing to stand up and be heard on the future of health care and the importance of protecting our diverse communities against anti-immigrant and hate-filled rhetoric. We will continue to fight to preserve the ACA and advance health equity. 

Thank you all for your efforts. We will continue our advocacy and inform you about the latest in our struggle.

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