Written by Sandra Sorensen
Something incredible has happened. At this moment the Senate effort to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act appears to have stalled. It is a testament to your faithfulness that despite the assurances of many powerful leaders that this bill would pass – a bill that we knew would put the lives and health of millions of our neighbors at risk – you never ceased praying, advocating and calling out for justice. UCC justice advocates, you are amazing!
Like the persistent widow in the Gospel of Luke you have gone back again and again to tell our elected officials that we will not leave our most vulnerable neighbors – the sick, the elderly, the working poor and those living with disabilities - behind.
Right now, the assault on our health care continues on three fronts: a move to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA) without replacement in the Senate, continuing efforts to undermine the ACA, and proposed deep cuts to Medicaid and Medicare in the House budget. Here’s what we’re hearing could happen next:
Next week, Senate Leader Mitch McConnell plans a new vote to fully repeal the ACA, this time without proposing replacement plans until two years after the law is repealed. This is an unacceptable solution. According to the Congressional Budget Office, repealing the bill without an alternative plan in place would take away health coverage from 32 million Americans by 2026 and would double health insurance premiums. We quite literally cannot afford to go down this path.
At the same time the House is working on a 2018 budget resolution that includes provisions to end Medicaid as we know it. The House budget would cut funding for Medicaid and other health care programs by $1.5 trillion over 10 years and Medicare by $487 billion over the same period—the cuts to Medicaid are even bigger than those in the House passed repeal bill (AHCA). This proposal also fundamentally changes Medicare so that rather than providing guaranteed benefits for seniors, it offers “premium support” or vouchers to purchase more costly private insurance that may or may not cover all of seniors’ health care needs.
So far, grassroots energy and activism has halted efforts to take our healthcare away. We will not stop now. Send the Senate one more message. Tell them to say no to repeal and commit to bipartisan solutions to strengthen our nation’s health care system.
We are committed to the work of strengthening and improving our current health care system so that it is accessible, affordable and equitable for all people. With your help, I am confident we can get there.
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