3 Things to Know about the Campaign to Defend the Affordable Care Act
This week, Republican leaders in Congress determined to repeal the Affordable Care Act advanced in their attack. With votes in the Senate and the House, they took the first significant steps toward repeal.
This is the biggest threat to the health care law that we’ve ever experienced. And the stakes could not be higher. All the gains we’ve made in expanding health coverage to a greater share of people and strengthening the health care system in America are at risk.
At the same time, there’s cause for hope. The massive mobilization of organizations and people at the local, state, and national levels is having an impact. The goal of ACA opponents in Congress was to deliver a repeal bill to the new president for him to sign on Day One of taking office. Thanks to all of our efforts, the Republican leadership has failed to meet that goal.
What’s next in the Republican strategy to repeal the ACA
With this week’s votes in both chambers on the budget resolution, Republicans completed the first step in their strategy to repeal the ACA. To complete the repeal and avoid a filibuster by Democrats, Republicans are using a highly convoluted process known as “budget reconciliation.”
Vox has a good piece explaining what’s involved in budget reconciliation.
As Roll Call put it:
“The budget reconciliation process is filled with procedural complications — and in this case, political uncertainty — as GOP leaders and President-elect Donald Trump have signaled various ideas about the timing of changes.”
Whenever it happens, the reconciliation vote will be absolutely critical: If Republicans win, key pieces of the ACA will be repealed. But there is no plan for a program to replace the health care law.
We have to communicate what the harm is from Republican efforts to dismantle the ACA. That’s where you come in.
- What can you do now to protect the gains we’ve made under the ACA
Lawmakers from both parties need to hear from constituents about how the ACA has helped them and how they would be affected if they lost its coverage and consumer protections. How to communicate with members of Congress and help inform the public about what's at stake:
- In-person meetings with members in D.C. or their staff in their home offices can have the most impact.
- Call and email members. Our friends at SEIU have set up a toll-free number: 1-866-426-2631.
- Write letters to the editor of your local newspapers.
- Attend/organize public events like the January 15 rallies being held across the country.
- Share your story or encourage friends and family to share theirs.
- Spread the word through your networks and social media about the impact the ACA has had. Follow #ProtectOurCare. Share stories like this recent one: A small business owner and longtime Republican, boldly stepped forward during a town hall with Paul Ryan to tell him a story about how the ACA saved his life.
- What you need to know about your health insurance, whether you’re covered through Medicaid or the ACA
If you have or are considering signing up for a health plan on the marketplaces (exchanges), there is very little reason to believe that repeal efforts will affect you. The same goes for people with coverage through the Medicaid expansion provision of the Affordable Care Act. In fact, the rate of people signing up for health insurance through the exchanges this year is outpacing prior years.