Today, an important new phase begins in the seemingly endless debates over U.S. health care. For the first time in many years, a committee of the U.S. Congress – the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions, aptly termed the “HELP” Committee—is holding open hearings in a bipartisan quest to find practical solutions that improve Americans’ access to affordable, quality health coverage and care.
The latest health care proposal out of Congress would cut funding for Medicaid expansion and financial assistance that helps low-wage works and moderate-income families.
CHIP is a vital part of our nation's health care system and needs to be protected. Learn more about this crucial program.
Congress is back from summer vacation and has little time to waste on a packed September agenda. Legislative items on its plate this month include: passing a government funding bill and disaster relief; extending funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), community health centers, and other key health programs; addressing the debt ceiling; and pivoting to tax reform.
Additionally, key Republicans and Democrats have promised to come together to address affordability and stability in the marketplace. It’s going to be a very busy month.
Despite ongoing attempts to undermine and repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA), independent industry analysts have consistently reaffirmed that the individual market under the law was continuing to stabilize and improve as of early 2017.
The cuts amount to a 90 percent reduction for marketplace advertisement funding and a 42 percent reduction in funding for Healthcare.gov. Navigator funding alone is being cut from $62.5 million to $36.8 million!
When Congress returns to D.C. from August recess, they will dive right into work that presents both opportunities and threats for health care. As a result, September will be a good time for health care advocates and activists to engage with their elected officials to make sure they protect affordable health care.
Oral health is an important part of overall health for everyone – but it can be crucially important to someone who is fighting a serious condition, such as kidney failure, an autoimmune disease, cancer or a heart problem. Unfortunately, Medicare covers almost no dental/oral health care, and imposes ill-considered restrictions on the limited care it will cover.
At the end of July, health care supporters prevailed over lawmakers who sought to pass destructive legislation that would have stripped millions of people of their health coverage and cut Medicaid for seniors, children, and people with disabilities.
Our country owes much of this victory to advocates and constituents in key states who spent the past eight months organizing to protect our care from this harmful bill. Working with Families USA and other national partners, state consumer health advocates used an array of tactics that made an enormous contribution to the campaign to protect the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and Medicaid. Through rallies, town halls, meetings, press and social media engagement, calls and letters to Congress, state-focused policy analysis, and other critical tactics, these state organizations raised public awareness of what was at stake and put pressure on lawmakers to oppose the harmful legislation.
Efforts to shift to a value-based health care system create an opportunity to improve the quality of care and health outcomes, save money for consumers and the health care system as a whole, and drive reductions in health disparities. But such positive outcomes from payment and delivery reform efforts are not guaranteed. There are some elements of this proposed rule that can help reduce health disparities, but a real commitment to health equity requires additional steps from CMS.