This blog is part of a series that will highlight how structural racism in the health care system negatively affects the health of individuals of color. Community Catalyst is committed to exposing and dismantling policies, practices and attitudes that routinely produce cumulative and chronic adverse outcomes for people of color in the health system.
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.
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?
The energy was ecstatic on Sunday, March 12th, at the Ed Roberts Campus where over 300 people gathered to #Fight4OurHealth and defend the tremendous health care gains California has made covering over 5 million people.
We remember what it was like before the Affordable Care Act (ACA), close to seven years ago:
Young adults were kicked off coverage when they were around 23 years old.
If you were young and healthy and could afford coverage on the private market, access to the services you needed were not a guarantee if you had a certain condition or an expensive illness that meant you could hit a lifetime cap on coverage.
As a woman you had to pay higher premiums because maternity coverage was not considered an essential benefit.
If you had breast cancer, or allergies, or diabetes, you had a pre-existing condition and were either considered uninsurable or had to pay much, much more.
The ACA changed those things. Today we have more secure coverage because we are guaranteed a minimum level of benefits, meaning you get what you pay for no matter what happens, and prevention screenings are free. Low income families and individuals have options for coverage, where there were none before through the expansion of Medi-Cal. We strengthened private health care coverage so there are no longer lifetime caps for coverage yet your out of pocket costs are limited. At the town hall on Sunday, we heard courageous stories from Bay Area residents about their journey for health care coverage and what it has meant to their livelihood.
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.
URGENT ACTION NEEDED DAILY OVER THE NEXT THREE WEEKS
Secret GOP Repeal Plan Expected to Drop Monday Night
Leaders came back to Washington after a raucous recess and wasted little time creating a new proposal to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA) in secret. Even under lock and key, details leaked to Politico. The new plan looks a lot like the original leaked plan, and it will be devastating for communities of color in California. The plan would:
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.