LEGISLATIVE UPDATES – AUGUST 1, 2017
The New York State Council of Churches wishes to thank everyone who sought to defeat the effort to repeal and repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. On early Friday morning, the last vote was taken on the so called “skinny bill” which would have denied 16 million people health insurance while jacking up premiums 20% annually. At the end of the day, we thank Senators Lisa Murkowski (Alaska), Susan Collins (Maine) and John McCain (Arizona) for their no votes which defeated this measure. We also thank our New York Senators, Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand for their leadership. We urge you to call the offices of these Senators to express your appreciation.
This defeat came as a result of your amazing advocacy. Your phone calls, e-mails, protests made all the difference. This sort of marvelous grassroots effort had and will continue to have a powerful impact on public policy.
Moving forward, it is important to remember that there will be aggressive efforts by the President and his allies in Congress to find other ways to undermine the ACA. For example, cuts in Medicaid are contemplated in the House budget along with attempts to turn Medicaid allocations into block grants. We will be vigilantly tracking these efforts and let you know how to apply pressure to ensure there is no damage done. Significantly, we would applaud a bi-partisan effort, as described by Senator McCain, to make truly effective improvements to the law.
An academic paper in the Journal of American Medical Association (JAMA) written by former President Obama offers a lot of constructive suggestions. We also will look for openings to advocate for a public option including Medicare for All and efforts to institute single payer on the state and national level.
We urge you to pay close attention to the votes and positions of your senators and representatives at both the national and state level and advocate accordingly. We will keep you informed of new developments on our web page. Our Facebook page, however, is an excellent place to go for the most immediate updates. We also urge you to get involved with various advocacy networks in your local communities like Citizens Action and to sign up for advocacy updates by denominations and the National Council of Churches.
Nothing could have a more catastrophic affect on people from all walks of life than the proposed American Health Care Act. It’s very important that we be vigilant in our understanding about what is proposed and make our voices known to our Representative and two US senators. We also you urge you to contact relatives and friends in other states to be in touch with their Congresspeople.
Health Care Update June 27 2017 Please read our latest information concerning the Senate bill and events around New York state!
Health Care update from Health Care Action Network June 9, 2017
Yesterday, while most of the country was riveted by the Comey hearings, a new proposal emerged from the Senate GOP leaders working on their plan to repeal the ACA and restructure Medicaid. Medicaid expansion and other Senators including Heller (NV) are signaling interest and support. The proposal would phase out Medicaid expansion over the next 7 years. Portman (OH) and Capitol (WV) are taking the lead on what is being characterized as a “compromise” proposal to end Key GOP centrists open to ending Medicaid expansion. The longer timeline doesn’t change the impact: Millions are going to lose coverage including low-income workers, poor people and veterans with no source of health care. Here is an article with more information.
Call Senators Schumer (202) 224-6542 and Gillibrand (202) 224-4451 Today!
Tell them that New York’s leaders must oppose any bill that:
Takes health care coverage away including ending Medicaid expansion
Ends Medicaid by replacing it with a cap or block grant
Increases out of pocket costs, lets insurers discriminate or water down benefits
Here is a recent commentary in the Times Union.
Health Care Repeal – The Senate Fight
Senate Republicans are writing a health care repeal bill in secret so they can give huge tax breaks to the wealthy at the expense of everyone else’s health care, just like the House’s repeal bill. The latest CBO score proves that no matter what version of health care repeal Republicans put forward the result will be the same: dramatically increased costs, millions fewer covered and gutting protections. That’s because Republicans are looking out for the wrong people and don’t understand the challenges people face. The Senate should stop their secret Republicans-only effort to repeal health care and work with Democrats to keep what works and fix what doesn’t. People won’t forget if their elected official puts tax breaks for the wealthy ahead of quality, affordable health care for everyone else.
Republicans are ignoring the American people and those who know health care best. They all agree the Senate should abandon repeal and work across party lines to keep what works and fix what doesn’t in our health care.
- According to a a May 25 Quinnipiac Poll, only one out of five voters supports this health care repeal.
- Those who know health care best – including the AARP, American Medical Association, American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network and American Hospital Association – are unified in opposing the Republican repeal bill.
- Political observers on both sides of the aisle are predicting that voters are more likely to vote members of Congress out of office if they back repeal and that the House is in play.
- The Senate is following the same disastrous path as the House, pushing to gut coverage for people with pre-existing conditions and planning to do the same long-term damage to Medicaid.
Any version of health care repeal is the same: people pay more for worse care. The Senate must reject any bill that gives huge tax cuts to the wealthy by cutting coverage, raising costs and ending protections.
- Cuts Coverage: 23 million people will have their coverage taken away according to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office – 14 million within the next year.
- Increases Costs: Premiums will go up by 20 percent in the next year; while those over 50 will pay even more.
- Eliminates Protections. Insurance companies could go back to charging people with preexisting conditions much higher premiums – someone with asthma could have to pay over $4,000 more for coverage.
- Handouts for the Rich: Gives nearly $700 billion to the wealthy and big corporations. The bill even includes a special tax break for health insurance companies that pay their CEOs more than $500,000 per year.
If you’re over 50, a woman or someone with a health issue, the Republican plan is to make you pay even more.
- The repeal bill lets insurance companies charge people over 50 as much as five times more than everyone else – what AARP estimates is an $8,400 “unaffordable age tax.”
- Repeal also lets insurance companies go back to putting annual and lifetime limits on health care coverage, meaning families can be bankrupted by a major illness even if they have insurance.
- Women could be charged more than men for their insurance because insurance companies would no longer be required to include pregnancy or childbirth as part of basic health insurance.
The GOP plan doesn’t stop at repeal – it defunds Medicaid which means that millions of kids, seniors in nursing homes and people with disabilities will lose their health coverage or be forced to pay a lot more.
- Repeal slashes Medicaid by nearly $1 trillion – cuts that reduce funding for nursing home care, care for people with disabilities, mental health care, and treatment for substance use disorders.
- The impact of these cuts will be staggering: Medicaid pays for 60% of all nursing home care, 60% of care for disabled kids and half of all pregnancies.
- Republican Senators say that these cuts will mean that states will have to pick up a 400% cost increase.
The Senate should drop its secret partisan process and commit to hold hearings and getting a nonpartisan analysis from the Congressional Budget Office before they vote on any bill to repeal health care.
- Just like the House, Senate Republican’s are writing their bill in secret with no public hearings and without listening to experts to learn what repeal will mean to their constituents.
- The Senate bill is being written by a Republican-only panel of white-men hand-picked by Republican leadership.
- It is time for Donald Trump and Republicans in Congress to start working with Democrats to find ways to strengthen and improve the Affordable Care Act by keeping what works and fixing what doesn’t, instead of trying to repeal it.
MEDICAID AND VETERANS:
Vote Vets and Families USA did a webinar in late May to help us understand how many vets depend on Medicaid. You can view the full recording of the webinar here. Below are more resources mentioned on the call. These include:
- Cutting Medicaid Would Hurt Veterans[Families USA report]
- States Can Give Back to Veterans by Expanding Medicaid[Families USA blog]
- Veteran’s Saw Broad Coverage Gains Between 2013 and 2015[The Urban Institute]
- Veterans and Their Family Members Gain Coverage Under the ACA, but Opportunities to Make More Progress Remain[The Urban Institute]
Misrepresentations about Congressional Budget Office Report and Repeal of Affordable Care Act
Here are a series of videos and fact sheet highlighting the GOP’s misrepresentations about health care repeal and the CBO score. The release and digital resources are below.
- Save My Care’s video featuring House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy’s lies are here and here.
- Save My Care’s video featuring Speaker Ryan’s lies, is here.
- Digital CBO Tool kit
LIE: “We are going to have a great pool for pre-existing conditions.” – President Donald Trump (The Economist, 3/17/17)
TRUTH: The CBO found that even moderate changes to market regulations ‘substantially increase the out-of-pocket costs’ for individuals with pre-existing conditions.
LIE: While we’re setting the record straight: the bill was posted online a month ago, went through 4 committees, & has been scored by CBO – twice. – AshLee Strong, Spokesperson for Speaker Ryan (Twitter, 5/6/17)
TRUTH: Congressional Republicans voted to pass the bill on May 4th, 20 days ago. The CBO score on the bill they passed on May 4th just came out.
Costs For People With Pre-Existing Conditions
LIE: “We protect pre-existing conditions. Yes, we really do. Show me, one point. We have guaranteed issue in here.” – House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, (CNN, 5/4/17)
TRUTH: The CBO found that under health care repeal people with pre-existing conditions would be ‘unable to purchase comprehensive non-group health insurance at premiums comparable to those under current law, if they could purchase it at all’. For Americans with pre-existing conditions in states that waive community ratings, ‘premiums would be so high in some areas that the plans would have no enrollment.’
LIE: “We’re not taking a benefit away. Nobody on Medicaid is going to be taken away” House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, (CNN, 5/4/17)
TRUTH: The CBO projects that health care repeal will culminate in 14 million fewer Medicaid enrollees by 2026.
LIE: “The premiums are going to be low, the deductibles are going to be low.” – President Donald Trump (Washington Post, 5/4/17)
TRUTH: The CBO found that premiums for single policy holders in the non-group market would increase by an average of 20 percent in 2018 and 5 percent in 2019, as subsidies decreased under the bill. It also found that premiums in states requesting waivers, premiums for low income elderly enrollees would go up 800 percent. The report also states that ‘plans offered in the non-group market would cover a substantially smaller share of benefits and premiums.’
June 23 Breakfast for Faith Leaders and Organizations
The Continuing Care Leadership Coalition (CCLC), an association of not-for-profit and publicly-sponsored organizations committed to the delivery of quality nursing home care, home care, and related long term care services for older and disabled citizens in New York is hosting a breakfast for faith leaders and organizations to discuss the impact of the proposed changes inthe American Healthcare Act will have for seniors and the chronically ill, frail, and elderly in New York State.
This is an important meeting for faith leaders and organizations to work together to exchange ideas and to share feedback so that we can plan how we can work collaboratively to preserve and protect healthcare services for some of New York’s most vulnerable citizen’s.
Meeting details are as follows, Friday, June 23, 2017, 8:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.555 West 57th Street, New York, New York 10019, Conference Center, 15th Floor
For planning purposes please RSVP to Diane Barrett, Director of Government Relations, at 212-259-0741 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Please feel free to contact me on my cell at 347-901-0220 if you have any questions.