Wednesday, May 03, 2017

Action Alert: Stop That Vote!!!! #ProtectOurCare

The House is expected to vote on the GOP health care plan tomorrow, as they appear to feel they have enough votes to pass it.  The bill did not get voted on in its original form because the House Freedom Caucus thought it was not harsh enough and some Republican moderates were actually concerned about all the people who would lose their health care under it.  That bill, the so-called American Health Care Act:

  • would have caused 14 million Americans to lose health insurance within the year and 24 million would lose coverage by 2026 according to estimates by the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office estimates
  • was opposed by the AARP due to the impact it would have on Medicare and Medicaid access and stability
  • would result in Medicaid cuts that would put at risk the health and safety of 17.4 million children and adults with disabilities and seniors by eliminating much-needed services that allow individuals to live independently in their homes and communities
  • would  re-instate, but under-fund,  high risk pools for people with chronic and complex health care conditions which were used and  have been proven ineffective prior to the Affordable Care Act
  • would restrict access to critical mental health services
  • would greatly eliminate income-based subsidies, replacing them with age-based subsidies which would price many working families out of adequate health insurance for their children and price disabled individuals out of comprehensive coverage that they need to survive
  • would allow gap surcharges and wellness program “incentives” that would also disproportionately impact individuals with disabilities who may lose employment due to hospitalizations and who may not be able to reach wellness benchmarks due to their conditions
  • was opposed by the American Medical Association, the American Nurses Association, the American Academy of Family Physicians, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Hospital Association, the American College of Physicians, the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the American Osteopathic Association, the American Lung Association, the Federation of American Hospitals, America’s Essential Hospitals, National Nurses United, the National Physician’s Alliance, and the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons
None of those things have changed. 
What has changed is that the MacArthur Amendment was passed in an attempt to make the bill Draconian enough for the Freedom Caucus.  This amendment allows states to opt not to require insurers to provide essential services (like..cancer treatment...and not just in the employer-sponsored health plans as well) if they don't want to and allows "community rating" so insurers in those states can charge so much extra to people with pre-existing conditions that even though insurers cannot technically deny people insurance because of pre-existing conditions, they can jack the cost up to so many thousands of dollars each month that no sick person will ever be able to afford insurance anyway.  Also, it could take away the very greatest protection that the ACA provides to people with serious illnesses and disabilities...the ban on annual limits and lifetime limitsThese bans have saved the lives of so many people and now they are in jeopardy again.
This strategy worked and the  Freedom Caucus, happy to be able to cull more sick babies and people with disabilities, stepped right up to support the bill.
The moderate Republicans were still troubled by the whole part about letting the sick and disabled die and letting 24 million Americans lose coverage over the next decade.  So Representative Upton offered an amendment to create an 8 billion dollar fund to help people with pre-existing conditions pay for their insurance when the MacArthur Amendment prices them out.  Except that this is 8 billion for the whole country over 5 years.  How much cancer treatment will that pay forNot much, Mamas.  Not much. Not for that many people. Unfortunately, it gave the much-pressured moderates a straw to grasp to say that they are still doing something for people with pre-existing conditions and they have grasped it.
Even though the Congressional Budget Office has not even had a chance to calculate how many people would lose their insurance under this plan and what it would cost the nation.
The Speaker thinks he has the votes.  The House says they are voting tomorrow. 
Please, please, please stop this, Mamas.  Call your Congresspeople and leave messages tonight.  Call again at 8am in the morning.  Email.   
Please tell them to vote no.

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