Health Care

Legislation has passed the House of Representatives, now we must focus on the Senate.

Contact Senators Sherrod Brown and Senator Rob Portman.

 

Things on the health care front have taken a dire turn and we’re reaching out with an urgent update and request for your immediate ramped-up engagement.

 

We could see a vote on a modified health care proposal in the House as early as this Friday!

 

The proposal has just won the support of the conservative House Republican Freedom Caucus – which heightens the chances significantly that the bill could pass.  As explained below, the only way to stop this legislation is to ensure that moderate and centrist Republicans oppose the measure.  So, the work those of you represented by these Members are doing is extremely important – especially in the next 24-48 hours.  The bill passed the House.

Legislative Update

 

We’ve included some press accounts that emerged in the last few hours laying out the developments in the House and the possibility of a vote this Friday. Tell the Ohio Senate that this is not the bill American wants or needs.

 

Over the recess, the leader of the Freedom Caucus, Rep. Meadows, negotiated a provision to add to the original House ACHA bill with Rep. MacArthur, one of the leaders of the moderate Republican “Tuesday Group.” The change is portrayed as protecting “pre-ex” coverage (meaning ensuring coverage for those with pre-existing conditions), but in fact, it makes it more likely that millions of Americans will see their premiums rise and/or lose access to their health coverage.

 

The modification would:

 

    • Roll back key pre-existing conditions protections: just like before the ACA, discrimination based on pre-existing conditions would be allowed except in states that chose to prohibit it.

 

    • Roll back nationwide standards that require plans to cover services like mental health and substance use treatment and maternity care, and that prohibit lifetime and annual limits.

 

See our paper on how this provision would make the AHCA worse here: http://www.cbpp.org/research/health/reported-amendment-to-house-aca-repeal-bill-guts-protections-for-people-with-pre

 

While the agreement was portrayed as a “deal” between moderate and conservative Republicans in the House, it turns out this change was nothing more than an agreement between Reps. Meadows and MacArthur. Unfortunately, that has now changed with the endorsement of the Freedom Caucus  (which only serves to underscore concerns about the impact of the change).

 

Unless moderate Republicans oppose the measure, it will pass and go to the Senate which would then come under intense pressure to act. This underscores how critical your work is in the districts of moderate House Republicans since they are now getting a strong push from the Administration and Republicans to support the bill.

 

There are still very strong reasons for moderate Republicans to oppose this modified ACHA bill. This group has indicated consistently that they are worried about protecting the Medicaid expansion in their states, and about protecting coverage for Essential Health Benefits and pre-existing conditions. Yet the modified ACHA bill retains the elimination of the Medicaid expansion – and effectively the end of Medicaid as we know it (the per capita cap/the $880 billion cut), and only further weakens these critical consumer protections.

 

Specifically, the bill:

 

  • Still causes 24 million people to lose coverage: 1 in 10 non-elderly people who would otherwise have insurance would lose it.
  • Still effectively ends the ACA Medicaid expansion.
  • Still cuts $840 billion from Medicaid over 10 years, with most of the savings going to wealthy people and insurance, pharmaceutical, and other corporations.
  • Still increases premiums and deductibles for marketplace consumers, with total out-of-pocket costs increasing by an average of $3,600 – and far more for older people, lower-income people, and people in high-cost states.

 

In short, for moderate Republicans who had announced their opposition, there’s no reason for them to change their position. For those moderates who had not yet indicated their position, there is no excuse to support this bill given the harm it would do.

 

We know that since last week many of you have sent calls to action to your networks and have been hard at work reaching out to your representatives on this. If you need their staff contact info, please reply to this email and let us know. We are happy to provide that information. Please see the list of the most recent public statements made by legislators on this modified version of the bill below.

 

Considering these developments, we hope you will move quickly in the next 24-48 hours to ensure that your moderate Republican representative has heard from you and other allied state partners and activists that the modified AHCA bill would have a tremendously harmful impact in your state.

 

In addition, we want to urge those of you with moderate Republican senators or other Republicans who represent a state with the Medicaid expansion to contact them quickly as well.

 

This could prove very useful in affecting the outcome in the House: if moderate Republican senators in states with moderate Republican representatives speak out against the modified House bill, it will send a powerful signal that this legislation is not going to fly in the Senate and give House members pause about “walking the plank” for nothing. In addition, if this bill does manage to pass the House, we need to make sure key senators are well aware of the deep problems with the modified House proposal.

 

We strongly urge you to consider enacting (or continuing) the following steps with the key House Republicans:

 

  1. Send a brief letter or email to your Representative in Washington (e.g. send it to the health care staffer) urging her/him to oppose the modified health plan. (If you need your Representative’s staff contact information, please let us know). Sample message points are below.
  2. Post something on your Member’s Facebook page and/or tweet at them about why this bill will hurt many in his/her district – join and promote hashtag campaigns such as #ProtectOurCare
  3. Let allied groups in the state/district know of these developments and urge them to communicate with the Member to urge his/her opposition

 

Messaging Points:

The modified Republican plan will make the underlying AHCA bill even worse. It is no compromise and it is certainly not a “deal” to the millions of Americans whose coverage will be impacted negatively:

  • People could be charged more if they had a pre-existing condition, putting affordable insurance out of reach for millions of Americans
  • Plans would no longer be required to cover services like mental health and substance use treatment, or maternity care – effectively allowing women to be charged more than men
  • People could again be subject to lifetime and annual limits on the coverage they get – meaning a medical catastrophe could once again mean bankruptcy

 

Ask your Senators to commit to opposing any bill or provision that causes millions of people to lose coverage, ends the ACA Medicaid expansion, shifts hundreds of billions of Medicaid costs to states, or makes individual market coverage less affordable.

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