ACA Repeal is a Runaway Train

By Jill Zorn

dreamstime_xs_4843494ACA Repeal is a runaway train hurtling down the track.  Congressional leaders and President Trump are determined that it will not be derailed.

Up to a few days ago, we didn’t see it coming.  Just two weeks ago it seemed that the message, “No repeal without replace”, quite visible at town hall meetings across the country, was getting through loud and clear.  And it was.

By the time Congress returned from recess on February 27, using the process of budget reconciliation to pass a repeal bill, which would only require 51 votes in the Senate, seemed less likely.  That is because delaying passage of a replacement bill until 60 votes could be found in the Senate, was becoming politically risky.

The process had slowed down, and advocates were starting to feel that maybe, just maybe, the repeal train had been stopped, or at least slowed down.

But that is so “yesterday’s news”.  Now Republicans in Congress are frantically rushing to repeal as much of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) as they can as fast as they can.

On March 1 rumors started circulating that there was a “secret” bill, hidden in the basement, that only Republican House members and staff would be permitted to review behind closed doors.  The bill would repeal crucial pieces of the ACA but would also include a replacement plan.  Somehow, they had managed to craft a bill that would simultaneously repeal and replace the ACA and would also comply with budget reconciliation rules, so that they would only need 51 votes in the Senate to pass it.

On March 6, the American Health Care Act (AHCA) was publicly released.  Just two days later two House committees held all-night sessions to review and vote on portions of the bill.  By 4:30 am and 1:45 pm on March 9, both committees voted to advance their portions of the bill.

The two portions will be combined and sent on to the Budget Committee and for review by the Rules Committee next week.  By the week of March 20, AHCA is expected to be voted on by the full House and then sent over to the Senate.  The goal is to have the Senate approve the bill before the next recess which begins on April 10.

Meanwhile, President Trump is vowing to hold “football stadium rallies” of his followers to put pressure on Senators to vote for the plan.

A Threat to Care We Count On

For those of us who believe that all Americans should have access to quality, affordable health care and coverage, AHCA is a trainwreck of a bill.  Here are a few highlights of what it proposes:

  • Take health care away from millions of people by gutting the ACA and slashing Medicaid funding
  • Increase the cost of insurance for people as they grow older, including higher premiums, deductibles and co-pays
  • Defund Planned Parenthood
  • Threaten the long-term stability of the Medicare trust fund
  • Blow a huge hole in state budgets
  • Give massive tax cuts to the very wealthy and to drug and insurance corporations

You Can Help Stop This Trainwreck

With things moving so fast in D.C., if ever there was a time to fight, it is now.

That is why the foundation, working with other groups, has started a new campaign:  Protect Our Care CT.  The web site provides the latest information about what is going on here in Connecticut and in D.C.

Please sign up with Protect Our Care CT today to receive action alerts about upcoming events and ways to TAKE ACTION.  The time to act is NOW.

More Information about AHCA

USA Today Q and A

Sarah Kliff’s Vox Explainer

Kaiser Family Foundation summary

Health Affairs blog

CT MirrorWhat the GOP Obamacare replacement bill means for you and CT

CT Mirror: American Health Care Act:  Who gains and loses in Connecticut

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