A Senate vote to repeal the ACA is expected NEXT WEEK. We are one vote away from killing this bad bill that harms millions of patients. We can’t let up now!
- CALL, CALLS, CALLS! Call Senators and urge them to oppose any bill that strips coverage from millions of Americans, ends vital consumer protections and phases out Medicaid: (202) 224-3121. Visit this toolkit for additional resources. Key Senate targets are: Heller (NV), Murkowski (AK), Capito (WV), Flake (AZ), McCain (AZ), Portman (OH), Cassidy (LA), Collins (ME).
- Our partners are hosting a People’s Filibuster in Washington, DC on Monday and Tuesday of next week. RSVP here to attend.
- Can’t make it to DC? Our partners are also hosting events across the country. Fine one near you here, here and here.
Senate Republican leaders released a revised versionof the Better Care Reconciliation Act (BRCA) yesterday, attempting to move forward with their plan to repeal and replace much of the Affordable Care Act. There have been concessions made to both moderates and conservatives in an attempt to reach the needed 50 votes; however, as unity proves elusive, there are few signs of substantial progress. The revised bill includes an amendment from Senators Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Mike Lee (R-UT) that would allow insurers to sell less comprehensive plans if they also offer at least one option that complied with federal standards. Insurers have already spoken out against this two-tier market proposal, citing that this would threaten access to coverage for individuals with costly medical conditions.
Moderates continue to express concern that the revised bill does not include enough protections for poorer or older Americans, particularly given rollbacks in Medicaid funding and subsidies to purchase insurance, and some Republican senators are considering a possible bipartisan solution that would shore up the Obamacare markets. On Wednesday, the New Democrat Coalition’s Affordable and Accessible Health Care Task Force released a proposal to stabilize the individual markets and reduce premiums. The House Democrats ‘Solutions over Politics’ plan would create an annual $15B reinsurance fund to provide payments to insurers that enroll higher-cost, sicker individuals, continue Obamacare’s insurer payments, allow a buy-in option for Medicare for people nearing retirement age, expand tax credits to help people buy insurance and expand the availability of catastrophic health plans that include essential health benefits and coverage for primary care for younger enrollees. Further, health care is expected to be a top discussion point at the National Governors Association meetingswhich began yesterday—particularly, major changes to Medicaid and states’ health insurance marketplaces.
First quarter results have suggested that insurers are on a path to profitability, despite rhetoric that Obamacare markets were failing. While there are still issues with the marketplace and uncertainty remains regarding the future of repeal-and-replace efforts, insurers spent 75% of premiums on medical claims in this year’s first quarter, in comparison to the prior two years during which insurers spent more than 85% of premiums on medical costs, translating into huge losses.
And lastly, the House subcommittee controlling the National Institutes of Health (NIH) also proposed a $1.1B boost for the agency this past week, defying an initial push from the Trump administration to cut funding.
|MEMBERS IN ACTION
Tell us about what you are up to! Email your updates and photos to [email protected].
Dr. Ram Krishnamoorthi shares that he and Drs. Laura Craig, Mara Davis and others in Chicago teamed up with Indivisible Chicago for a rally. Mara, a family physician, and Laura, a graduating psychiatry resident, both spoke and told stories of their patients. The Chicago Tribune ran the story on their front page on Friday and CNN.com used some photos as well!
Dr. Cathleen London penned an op ed in the Portland Press Herald urging Sens. Collins and King along with Rep. Pingree and Poliquin not to rollback coverage, especially for the state’s most vulnerable.
“The proposed cuts both in the Senate health care legislation and in a budget proposal soon to be brought forward in the Republican-controlled House are a direct attack on the interests of the people of Maine. We must ask our members of Congress, Sens. Susan Collins and Angus King, and Reps. Chellie Pingree and Bruce Poliquin, to defend Maine’s most vulnerable people.”
Med student Margaret Hayden also penned an op edin the Portland Press Herald urging Sen. Collins to support the ACA and cautioning that a vote against the ACA be devastating for Maine.
“As a future doctor, I know what will happen if the Affordable Care Act is repealed. Mainers will get sicker. Many will go bankrupt. Some will die.”
Dr. Matthew Molloy a pediatrician at Hopkins and former DFA Maryland State Director wrote an op-ed in the Baltimore Sun pointing out the devastating impact the President’s budget would have on children.
“The budget seeks to dismantle the foundational programs that make America great and keep Americans safe and healthy with deep cuts proposed to Medicaid, anti-poverty programs, education support and biomedical research. As a pediatrician, I am appalled that these cuts disproportionately impact children.”
Drs. Umbereen Nehal, Jeffrey Schnipper and Diana Wasserman, along with Dr. Wasserman’s granddaughter Ellaria Vecsey, met with Senator Markey’s office. DFA MA was invited to provide testimony and examples of the impact of gains made through the ACA on patients. They discussed strategies to protect health reform and to continue to improve healthcare.
Dr. Kamini Doobay recently spoke at the “Violence is a Health Issue” summit which was co-hosted by The NYC Health Department’s Center for Health Equity and the NYC Coalition to Dismantle Racism in the Health System. Public health leaders, health professionals, medical school leadership and community activists addressed topics such as structural violence and the racial inequities that contribute to poorer health outcomes in communities of color. Video of her remarks here.
DFA Board Member Dr. Lori Heim and Dr. Naveed Aziz spoke at the Moore County Indivisible meeting where 100 people showed up. The doctors presented on what the ACA was and how that contrasts with what the AHCA/BCRA proposes.