The new Graham-Cassidy healthcare bill in the Senate is in many ways worse than bills that came before. For one thing, it would punish states like California and New York that have done the most to increase access to health care.
Patient and provider groups have lined up to condemn the bill. On Monday 16 groups condemned it. Tuesday the American Medical Association piled on. Physician groups, hospital and health insurance associations and AARP have all denounced it.
Jimmy Kimmel shared his thoughts on the bill in this video, which so far has had 1.2M views.
Yet Lindsey Graham and Bill Cassidy are telling people they have the votes. As of this writing, only one GOP Senator, Rand Paul, has said he will definitively vote against it. Republicans in Congress know it is likely their last chance to repeal the ACA, and that (rather than how the bill helps or hurts people) is what is motivating many of them. Unfortunately for Americans, this is not a drill. The threat is very real.
As the NYTimes put it, it is hard to overstate the cruelty of the bill:
- If you’re nearing retirement, you will likely see your premiums shoot up as insurers can now charge an older person 5X what they charge a young person. Some would see their premiums TRIPLE.
- If you have a pre-existing condition, you’re out of luck. While insurers have to offer you a plan, they can charge whatever they want to treat your pre-existing condition.
- If you get sick with an expensive condition, too bad. Caps are back. Hit your lifetime cap and your insurance ends forever.
- If you rely on a tax credit to afford health insurance, tough break for you. Those are gone.
- If you or someone you love relies on Medicaid, tough luck. The bill guts Medicaid by cutting hundreds of billions of dollars, and then caps it. 60% of long-stay nursing home residents are on Medicaid. 39% of US children are on Medicaid. The most vulnerable among us will be hurt.
- You may be one of millions who can no longer afford health insurance (we’ll find out how many tens of millions when the full CBO score is released).
The CBO has said it will provide a preliminary analysis by early next week. We are hoping that bringing the bill into the sunlight with real data that shows how it hurts people in their states might shame some GOP Senators
into voting against it. In the meantime, we continue to try to try to pressure GOP Senators into doing the right thing for their constituents, and for all Americans.
Stand Up SF actions:
- The future of the ACA likely hinges on the votes of a few Republican Senators. Indivisible has given us a call tool so we can make calls from home to progressive voters in these districts. We need to urge these folks to call
their Senator right away. It only takes a minute to sign up for the call tool, then you can make calls for 10 minutes or 10 hours.
- Make sure your friends, family and colleagues know how the bill will affect them. If they live in a red state, ask them to call their representatives.
- Educate any contacts you have in other states, not only on the bill but on the need to call their Senators. (Remember that polls showed a high % of the people with negative views of Obamacare had positive views of the
Affordable Care Act. After eight years of misinformation campaigns, people are confused.)
- Consider a quick donation to an organization that is running ads against the Senate bill in red states, such as MoveOn, so they can run as many as possible this weekend.
Actions with other groups:
- Is it easier for you to make calls when you are with others? Join Democracy Action’s phone bank to save the ACA: Sat, 9/23, 1-5pm, Civic Center. Come for an hour, or stay for the whole event.