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.
This past week thousands of constituents showed up at California town halls, vigils, 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.
Last week the Administration began to chip away at the Affordable Care Act (ACA), sending mixed messages to the nervous marketplace it is trying to calm. While doubts have grown that a GOP consensus exists to repeal the ACA, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) proposed a rule for 2018 which would make it harder for individuals to obtain and maintain coverage through federal and state exchanges. At the same time, the IRS announced it will not automatically reject tax returns that fail to disclose whether the individual obtained health coverage during the past year, undermining the individual mandate which is necessary to keep Californians with pre-existing conditions covered.
The GOP released its proposal for replacing the ACA, a 19 page white paper that will result in the loss of health care coverage for millions of people. The white paper includes no legislative language. Republicans plan to turn the proposal into legislation when they return from the February recess.
CPEHN believes that any replacement for the ACA must:
The campaign to protect our health care is gaining momentum. More GOP lawmakers are facing local anger and concern at town hall meetings over plans to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA) without a replacement plan. Despite initial efforts to move quickly, there does not appear to be consensus in the GOP on a path forward. Nearly a half-dozen plans have been introduced or are coming — none with the broad support needed to get through Congress and win over the public. This makes it far more difficult to repeal a law the GOP has spent six years trying to kill.
Thank you to our members for staying engaged in the fight to defend our healthcare. Your efforts are paying off! The first two weeks of the new Trump Administration brought a brief reprieve from ACA repeal efforts as a leaked recording from a closed-door Republican retreat exposed divisions within the party over how to move forward. As Rep. Tom McClintock (R-Calif), California’s lone Republican lawmaker who voted against the repeal noted: “We’d better be sure that we’re prepared to live with the market we’ve created. That’s going to be called Trumpcare. Republicans will own that lock, stock and barrel, and we’ll be judged in the election less than two years away.”
The reprieve came at a high cost though as the nation was surprised and stunned by a pair of Executive Orders issued by President Trump to further militarize our southern border and scapegoat immigrant communities, particularly those from Muslim countries. These orders could have a chilling affect on immigrant communities who rely on critical health care services. CPEHN joined many other voices across the country in rejecting these punitive and divisive orders.
The past few weeks have been chaotic yet energizing as Congress started off the New Year with efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA) along with the transition of a new Presidential Administration. Many thanks to those who have been engaged in ACA defense activities from visiting your Congressional representatives to participating in last weekend’s solidarity marches. Your voices are being heard throughout the nation!
And, there is still more work to do to defend our healthcare, 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.
Check out CPEHN’s new #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 past actions: