Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Republican Plan for Healthcare

The secret healthcare bill is out. Monday night, House Republicans finally released their plan to repeal the Affordable Care Act, and now it’s being rushed through committee, after being kept under lock and key with the details and cost hidden from members of Congress and the public. 
What’s the rush? 
The lack of hearings, cost estimates and sufficient time to review the language would be problematic in any situation. But a bill that takes away healthcare from Americans in order to give tax breaks to the wealthy should not be pushed ahead without thorough review and informed debate. 
With Republican control of both chambers of Congress, with Donald Trump in the White House and Tom Price as health and human services secretary, this bill could actually become law.
The consequences would be disastrous, and Americans know it. Of course the ACA had its problems and needed to be fixed, but this plan does none of that. It rips healthcare away from Americans to give huge tax breaks to the wealthy, which is about as cruel as it gets. This isn’t a healthcare plan—it’s a massive giveaway to insurance companies and those at the top, while it hits America’s families with a triple whammy of less coverage, higher costs and more taxes. This bill will potentially leave millions without coverage. Not only that, some want to radically restructure Medicare and Medicaid while they’re at it.
Our voices are making a difference. Throughout the country, people are calling and writing their elected officials, and showing up at congressional offices and town hall meetings to share their personal stories about how the ACA gave them or a loved one access to affordable health insurance, many for the very first time.

Members of Congress are feeling the heat from Americans who don’t want their healthcare taken away. We can’t let up now! Tell your members of Congress to protect the Affordable Care Act and the health coverage it provides to millions of America’s families.

Under intense constituent pressure, congressional Republicans are divided, but we need to turn up the heat. The bill would allow insurers to charge much higher rates to older Americans. It cuts federal funding for Medicaid, defunds Planned Parenthood, and cuts financial assistance for low- and moderate-income families. Cuts to Medicaid would shortchange school districts that provide health services to our most vulnerable students and wreak havoc on state budgets. Repealing the ACA will have substantial effects on jobs too; experts estimate that it could cost Americans up to 2.5 million jobs in 2019 alone!

The fact that Republicans are now trying to ram something through, after keeping its details secret, makes it clear that they want to hide the details and cost from the American people. If something sounds too good to be true, it is. They know that if their real intent were exposed, Americans would soundly reject their efforts.

Why would Trump, Sen. Mitch McConnell and Rep. Paul Ryan push this agenda when it could harm so many?

Their endgame is clear: provide tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans, at the expense of working families and the most vulnerable members of our communities. And while they’re handing unnecessary tax breaks to their wealthy friends, Trump, McConnell and Ryan want to increase your taxes by taxing good healthcare plans for middle-class Americans.
This is not simply rhetoric; these policies have meaning. Americans should never have to choose between paying the mortgage and getting healthcare. This bill means students won’t be able to pay attention in class because their vision or other health problems will go untreated, and seniors—who have worked all their lives—will suffer needlessly because they have to forgo care they can’t afford. If passed, this bill will only make their lives more difficult. 
Don’t let Congress repeal and ruin our healthcare so the very wealthy can have their tax breaks. Write to them now.

In unity,
Randi Weingarten
AFT President

P.S. The AFT is helping to lead the fight to protect our healthcare coverage. Join us for a webinar for leaders and activists to learn more about what the ACA has accomplished and how the House Republicans’ bill to repeal the ACA would harm.

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