Senate effort to repeal Affordable Care Act pushes ahead
Prevention Institute E-Alert: June 13, 2017
As a small group of senators haggle over people’s lives behind closed doors, it’s up to all of us to push back and insist that health is a human right, not just another line item to be weighed against tax cuts for the rich. The American Health Care Act is a fundamental betrayal of our basic values as a country.
When you consider the damage this bill will do, it’s no wonder that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s strategy for passing the AHCA hinges on misinformation about the bill’s consequences, as well as “sabotage, speed and secrecy” to take advantage of the distractions of a turbulent political landscape. Last week, Senator McConnell fast-tracked the AHCA, cutting out the committee process and blocking his colleagues and the public from learning what’s actually in the bill.
At this moment, we risk cutting the most important question out of the healthcare debate entirely: “What can we do to support healthy people living in healthy communities?” That’s why we urge you to join other public health advocates on June 15 to support prevention and public health.
These are just a few reasons we must demand the Senate reject the American Health Care Act and the dangerous politics that produced it.
- Instead of ensuring the smooth functioning of the Affordable Care Act, the administration has recklessly sabotaged insurance marketplaces across the country by sowing uncertainty about the future of the Affordable Care Act and threatening to take away the subsidies that enable millions of Americans to afford healthcare coverage on the insurance exchange. This is part of a broader agenda to discredit the Affordable Care Act by blocking any and all efforts to improve the law.
- Instead of keeping health at the heart of the healthcare debate, the current process hijacks healthcare reform as a vehicle for tax cuts for the wealthy and corporations. The House version of the bill would cut $765 billion in taxes over the next decade on the one hand, while simultaneously cutting Medicaid by over $880 billion. The billions of dollars in tax cuts included in the AHCA also pave the way for future tax cuts for corporations and the richest of the rich.
- Instead of investing in the community-based resources that support health and equity, the AHCA would zero out the Prevention and Public Health Fund and drain funds from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Clawing back investments in public health will mean more suffering, premature death, and healthcare costs from preventable illnesses and injuries.
- Instead of maintaining the Medicaid expansion, the AHCA would effectively dismantle Medicaid as it currently exists, slashing benefits and throwing millions of the most vulnerable people off of healthcare coverage. Medicaid cuts on this scale would touch every community, especially those communities that are struggling most with longstanding health inequities and communities hardest hit by the opioid crisis. The Social Security savings identified by the Congressional Budget Office report on the version of the AHCA passed by the House last month would come from people being forced to work longer to afford healthcare.
- Instead of keeping promises on healthcare that President Trump made on the campaign trail, this bill would break them. As a candidate for president, Donald Trump pledged to “take care of everybody. I don't care if it costs me votes or not. Everybody's going to be taken care of much better than they're taken care of now.” Millions of voters in struggling communities took Trump seriously when he promised to defend Medicaid and fix the healthcare system. Rather than keep these promises, the current debate purposefully misleads the public about what the American Health Care Act will do.
If we can convince just three Senate Republicans to reject the AHCA -- and stand with the millions of families who benefit from healthcare and healthier communities -- then the bill will fail. The stakes are incredibly high, as the AHCA doesn’t just promise to dismantle access to healthcare: it will also eliminate the Prevention and Public Health Fund, a crucial investment in community health and safety. Contact your senators by phone and email here.
Several Republican senators have already expressed concerns about the American Health Care Act. If your senator is on this list, they need to hear from you now. Please reach out to their offices today and let them know why you support the Affordable Care Act and oppose repeal: Senator Lisa Murkowski (Alaska); Senator Dan Sullivan (Alaska); Senator Jeff Flake (Arizona); Senator Cory Gardner (Colorado); Senator Bill Cassidy (Louisiana); Senator Susan Collins (Maine); Senator Dean Heller (Nevada); Senator Rob Portman (Ohio); and Senator Shelley Moore Capito (West Virginia).
Your message can be simple:
“I do not want 23 million of my fellow Americans to lose access to healthcare and am gravely concerned by efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act. I also do not support efforts to repeal the Prevention and Public Health Fund. Please oppose efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act and the Prevention and Public Health Fund.”