Last night, the Republicans’ latest effort to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA or Obamacare) failed to pass a floor vote when in a dramatic and surprise move, Senator John McCain of Arizona joined with GOP Senators Collins (Maine) and Murkowski (Alaska) in opposing the bill. This is a major victory for all of us fighting for healthcare! Though we applaud the GOP and Democratic Senators who voted against the bill, we know that the real cause of this victory is the countless organizing efforts led locally throughout the country to bring the healthcare crisis to the front doors of our legislators.
So what’s next….while the latest repeal bill was not passed, attacks on healthcare are far from over.
- There’s a proposed budget resolution in play right now (FY2018 budget resolution) that contains 1.5 trillion in cuts to Medicaid, privatization of Medicare, cuts to SSI and $5 trillion in tax breaks to the rich and corporations. The budget is going to the floor in September and includes even more severe damage than what we saw in the repeal bills. It doesn’t stop at healthcare either: there’s cuts to food stamps, housing, pell grants, and education.
- The proposed House budget would cut funding for Medicare by $487 billion over 10 years and cut Medicaid and other health care programs by $1.5 trillion over the same period.
- The proposed budget resolution calls for immediate adoption of the House passed bill (AHCA) that repeals the ACA and ends Medicaid as we know it by replacing the traditional Medicaid program (which provides healthcare for 70 million seniors, children, people with disabilities, pregnant women and low income people) with a per capita cap or block grant that cuts funding permanently and shifts the burden of providing coverage to states or to the recipients themselves.
- The proposed budget fundamentally changes Medicare (a program Trump vowed not to touch) 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’ healthcare needs. Just like the Republican plan to end Medicaid as we know it, privatization through vouchers would transform Medicare and hurt seniors who depend on it.
Again, we are celebrating a major victory today that belongs to all of us. By confronting lawmakers at townhalls, organizing speak-outs and rallies, educating our neighbors and taking action to protest health care proposals that would put our lives on the line, we’ve stopped the latest Senate bill from advancing. However, with this looming House budget, we have an important fight ahead of us! We will be sure to keep you up to date as details emerge.
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