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Tell your senators: If you “didn’t come to Washington to hurt people,” it’s time to bail on repeal and replace

The healthcare bill introduced last week by Senators Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Bill Cassidy of Louisiana is gathering momentum as the September 30 deadline approaches, with a vote likely next week. This bill is just as dangerous as the healthcare bills that were introduced and defeated earlier this year, and we need to act now to ensure it doesn’t pass.

Here’s why: 

  • Instead of investing in the community-based resources that support health and equity, the Graham-Cassidy bill 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 expanding access to healthcare for people with low-incomes, the Graham-Cassidy bill would rapidly phase out the Medicaid expansion and enact steep cuts to Medicaid, slashing benefits and throwing millions of the most vulnerable people off of healthcare coverage. The bill also defunds Planned Parenthood for one year, a healthcare provider that serves as an essential safety net for millions of women. The bill would also redistribute funds from states that expanded Medicaid to those that didn’t, resulting in even steeper cuts to coverage and benefits in states that have adopted the Medicaid expansion. Reporter Vann R. Newkirk II described this as “in essence, […] taking half the amount of butter and spreading it over twice the slices of bread.”
  • Instead of ensuring that health insurance meets people’s needs, this bill would give states the “flexibility” to rescind hard-won protections for consumers, thereby degrading the quality of healthcare coverage. 
  • Instead of carefully considering a bill that would affect millions of people and one-sixth of the US economy using an open, democratic process, Republican leadership is planning to curtail debate; prevent any amendments; sidestep the usual committee process by hosting a hearing in front of the Committee on Homeland Security, rather than the Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions; and vote without a score from the Congressional Budget Office, all to meet the September 30 deadline. This is a reckless and downright anti-democratic way to craft life-and-death policy. 

The cuts this bill proposes – to Medicaid, to public health and prevention – would touch every community, especially those communities that are struggling most with longstanding inequities in health and safety, structural racism, and economic disinvestment. 

Last time around, Senators Susan Collins of Maine, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, and John McCain of Arizona were the only Republicans to vote against a healthcare repeal bill, citing concerns about steep cuts to Medicaid and the anti-democratic process deployed by Senate leadership to advance the bill. They need your support to continue standing up to their party on healthcare. If just three Republican senators vote against the Graham-Cassidy bill, the bill will fail. EVERY senator needs to hear from his or her constituents TODAY. It’s especially important for the following senators to receive calls:

If you see your senator on this list, call and leave messages at as many office locations as possible. Senate staffers report that calls, faxes, and messages from the public opposing this healthcare bill have dropped off dramatically since the last time a similar bill was under consideration. Your senators need to hear from you NOW. Once you’ve reached out to your senators, please forward this alert to friends and colleagues, and ask them to do the same, ESPECIALLY if you have friends, family and colleagues who live in the states listed above.

Contact your senators TODAY and tell them we need a robust health system that invests in prevention and public health, and expands access to healthcare. Anything less is unacceptable.  

There’s still time to stop this bill – but we need to act now. 

*Indicates senator from a state that has expanded Medicaid and faces disproportionately steep cuts under Graham-Cassidy. The following states will also be hard hit by the redistribution of Medicaid funds: California, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Montana, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Dakota, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Washington.

Prevention Institute building

Protect REACH

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Racial and Ethnic Approaches to Community Health (REACH) program has been zeroed out in appropriations bills passed by both the House and Senate.  Members of the Senate and House appropriations committees need to hear from you today about why REACH matters in your community and why they must act to restore funding.  

Public Health Leaders Make Joint Call to Protect Prevention and Healthcare

PI and our colleagues from the American Public Health Association, Public Health Institute, Trust for America’s Health released a statement noting that “repealing the ACA and the Prevention Fund ensures there is no progress to reduce healthcare spending or improve the health of our workforce. Repealing the ACA will result in an America where preventable suffering and death are more widespread, and an America where the poorest and sickest communities fall even farther behind.” 

Stay updated with our Policy and Advocacy Portal

Prevention Institute’s Policy and Advocacy Portal is a one-stop shop for the latest national policy news, advocacy opportunities, and resources relating to community prevention and health equity.

Contact Info:

Phone: 510-444-7738

Email: prevent@preventioninstitute.org

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221 Oak Street
Oakland, CA 94607

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