UPDATE TO THIS STORY - Sept. 26, 2017 at 5:51 p.m.
In the end, the Senate Republicans did not have the vote on the Graham-Cassidy "repeal and replace" bill and the battle to get rid of the Affordable Care Act is finally over ... for now. Don't rest though. At its core, ACA is flawed and needs some major fixing which may sound like something everyone would want to do but given the rhetoric coming from the White House and the climate on Capitol Hill, it is worrisome. Insurance carriers are bailing out of many markets throughout the country, premiums and out-of-pocket expenses are going through the roof and there is no relief in sight. Lawmakers need to work together to solve this because the guy occupying the White House is planning on seeing this thing basically implode as he's banking on desperate lawmakers will then be in a dire position to potentially cave in and make a deal. It's a calculation on his part but not one we should dismiss. Therefore, PLEASE, continue on with your outreach as this article suggest as we need to get lawmakers to work together to fix this mess before it's too late. And, if they don't fix it within the next year, guess what? The Republicans will have the ability of coming back AGAIN with a new bill that would once again only require 50 votes as they'd be including it in next year's budget reconciliation effort. So, while a year may seem like a long time, when it comes to major legislation that requires cooperation between the White House and Congress, their batting average is dismal.
We don't know when this charade of attempts by the Republican-led Congress to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act will end but we're once again asked to quickly mobilize and make one big push this week to help thwart their last-ditch effort.
The newest proposal, dubbed the Graham-Cassidy bill, must be voted on by the U.S. Senate this week in order to pass with the lowest threshold of 50 senators. It will:
- Allow states to eliminate essential health benefits.
- Let states allow insurers to raise premiums for people with pre-existing conditions.
- Reduce dollars to states that expanded the Medicaid programs and redirect those dollars to states that did not expand Medicaid.
- Change Medicaid funding formulas to a per capita basis and then block grant them.
Should the Senate pass their bill, the House would then move to also pass the Senate bill, virtually ensuring it becomes law.
The sad reality is that we don't have to worry about the vote of the California Senators but it's the votes of those Republican Senators representing other states. So, though our protest to California Senators is not likely to move the needle significantly, we need to get friends and family members living in other "red states" to amplify our voices. The best way to do this is to send them this link and ask them to complete. Use your social media accounts to help spread the word.