Your legislators need to hear from you today: NO to this healthcare bill masquerading as a tax bill
Just before 2 AM on Saturday morning, Senate Republicans passed a tax bill that threatens to upend the US healthcare system, deepen income inequality, and slash investments in public health, healthcare, and social services.
As the American Public Health Association’s executive director Dr. Georges Benjamin put it, "This legislation will have immediate consequences for Americans' health… it will leave Americans sicker, poorer, and with a government unprepared and unequipped to respond to urgent threats to public health as soon as next year."
We still have time to stop this dangerous bill in its tracks. That will require the kind of mass mobilization we saw earlier this year, when Republican efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act were thwarted by public opposition. This so-called tax bill would wreak the same kind of havoc on the healthcare system the ACA repeal bill.
The Senate bill would repeal the ACA individual mandate, which would cause health insurance premiums to spike and is expected to cause 13 million people to lose healthcare coverage over the next 10 years. The House and Senate bills are also littered with provisions that would, for example, undermine affordable housing by devaluing the low-income housing tax credit that currently finances nine out of 10 affordable housing units built in the US, and limit the ability of state and local governments to fund education, public transportation, and social services.
And the damage wouldn’t stop there. If this tax bill becomes law, deficits would spike by $1.5 trillion over the next 10 years, which would trigger massive automatic cuts to health and social programs, including eliminating the Prevention and Public Health Fund, which currently supplies 12% of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s budget. Medicare and numerous social service programs would also face steep cuts.*
EVERY senator and representative needs to hear from their constituents TODAY, as the tax “reform” bill heads to conference committee. Look up contact info for your senators and representative here.
If just three Republican senators vote against the final tax bill when it returns to the Senate floor later this month, the bill will fail. It’s especially important for the following senators, who have opposed earlier versions of the tax bill and/or previous efforts to cut public health and healthcare spending, to receive calls:
Tell these Senators that you oppose the tax bill and the inclusion of the individual mandate within it, and insist that any deficits caused by it MUST NOT result in cuts to healthcare and public health. Call and leave messages at as many office locations as possible. Congressional staffers report that calls, faxes, and messages from the public opposing the tax bill have dropped off dramatically compared to this summer’s grassroots pushback against healthcare bills.
Your legislators need to hear from you NOW. Once you’ve reached out to them, please forward this alert to friends and colleagues, and ask them to do the same.
There’s still time to stop this bill – but we need to act today.
*NOTE: Senate Republicans have said they will not allow these automatic cuts to go forward, however that would have to be addressed in separate legislation, and there is no guarantee that separate language would be approved.