Thursday, January 5, 2017

ACTION NEEDED ON ACA: Republicans aim to repeal without replacement

Call for action

House Speaker Paul Ryan is conducting a phone survey about the Republican’s moves to trash the Affordable Care Act. Here is how you can respond.

Call 202 225 3500 and select option #2. Then suffer through a bunch of self-serving garbage until you get to the next option and then select #1 to support President Obama’s ACA. Then stay on the line for a comment, but it is likely the voice mail box is full.

You can try 202 225 0600 #2 and #1 and stay on the line for a comment. But this number seems to be perpetually busy. Maybe they took that phone off the hook?

You can tweet as I did:

@SpeakerRyan Repeal without replacement? That’s like shutting the only hospital in town while waiting for a new one.

CONTACT YOUR REPRESENTATIVE AND SENATORS

Contact information for Sen. Jeff Flake
Tucson office phone: 520–575–8633
Email to this link

Contact information for Sen. John McCain
Phoenix office phone: 602–952–2410
Email to this link

Contact information for CD2 Rep. Martha McSally
Tucson office phone: 520–881–3588
Email via this link

Why you need to act now

Here is why you need to take action: Republicans’ 4-Step Plan to Repeal the Affordable Care Act. With the Republicans soon to be in control of both chambers of congress and the White House, their efforts to repeal without replacement are now more than some silly symbolism.

Vice President-elect Mike Pence and the top Republicans in Congress made clear on Wednesday, more powerfully and explicitly than ever, that they are dead serious about repealing the Affordable Care Act.

How they can uproot a law deeply embedded in the nation’s health care system without hurting some of the 20 million people who have gained coverage through it is not clear. Nor is it yet evident that millions of Americans with pre-existing medical conditions will be fully protected against disruptions in their health coverage.

But a determined Republican president and Congress can gut the Affordable Care Act, and do it quickly: a step-by-step health care revolution in reverse that would undo many of the changes made since the law was signed by President Obama in March 2010.

Step 1: Defang the filibuster
The Senate intends to pass a budget resolution next week that would shield repeal legislation from a Democratic filibuster. If the Senate completes its action, House Republican leaders hope that they, too, can approve a version of the budget resolution next week. …

Step 2: Add the details
The committees — House Energy and Commerce, House Ways and Means, Senate Finance, and Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions — will quickly assemble legislation intended to eviscerate the health care law.
… the legislation would:
■ Eliminate the tax penalties imposed on people who go without insurance and on larger employers who do not offer coverage to employees.
■ Eliminate tens of billions of dollars provided each year to states that have expanded eligibility for Medicaid.
■ Repeal subsidies for private health insurance coverage obtained through the public marketplaces known as exchanges.

Step 3: The new president’s role
Within days of taking office, President-elect Donald J. Trump plans to announce executive actions on health care. Some may undo Obama administration policies. Others will be meant to stabilize health insurance markets and prevent them from collapsing in a vast sea of uncertainty.

[Pence] did not provide details, and Trump transition aides said they had no information about the executive orders. But some options are apparent. The federal government could continue providing financial assistance to insurance companies to protect them against financial losses and to prevent consumers’ premiums from soaring more than they have in the last few years.

Step 4: Find a replacement
Even as they move full speed toward gutting the existing health law, Republicans are scrambling to find a replacement. At the moment, they have no consensus.

They have not managed to find a replacement in six years. Why expect more from them now?

Many experts have said that repealing the health law without a clear plan to replace it could create havoc in insurance markets. Doctors, hospitals and insurance companies do not know what to expect.

What Congressional Democrats are doing to stop the repeal

Democrats in Congress say they will do everything they can to thwart Republican efforts to dismantle the Affordable Care Act. They plan to dramatize their case by publicizing the experiences of people whose lives have been saved or improved by the law.

In the Senate next week, Democrats will demand votes intended to put Republicans on record against proposals that could protect consumers. Defenders of the law also hope to mobilize groups like the American Cancer Society and the American Heart Association to speak up for patients.

The Senate Democratic leader, Chuck Schumer of New York, and the House Democratic leader, Nancy Pelosi of California, are encouraging their colleagues to organize rallies around the country on Jan. 15 to oppose the Republicans’ health care agenda.

And to buttress their case, Democrats are compiling statistics from the White House and from researchers at liberal-leaning groups like the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, the Commonwealth Fund and the Urban Institute, which warn of catastrophic consequences if the law is repealed.

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