In the middle of last night, the U.S. Senate took the first step to repealing the Affordable Care Act, passing a budget resolution on a 51-48 vote after a week of debate and many hours of considering amendments through a process called “vote-a-rama.” The Republican Senate majority voted against multiple amendments that would have salvaged various popular components of the ACA, voting against protections for patients with pre-existing conditions, Medi-Cal expansion, contraceptive coverage, allowing children on their parents plan until age 26, improved prescription drug coverage for seniors, kids coverage, and more.
The Senate majority took this vote without any replacement in place or even proposed, or any knowledge of how a replacement would serve their constituents in comparison. This resolution is now expected to go to a vote in the House of Representatives on Friday, thus paving the way for the actual repeal bill through budget reconciliation starting in late January with possible passage in February.
Every Californian should be alarmed by Congress’ rush to repeal coverage without any replacement plan. The Senate majority was shameful in moving this repeal resolution, with no replacement even proposed. No member of California’s Congressional delegation should vote to repeal the ACA, especially given the devastating blow it would be, not just to the five million Californians directly impacted, but to our health system and economy as a whole. Not only would millions see their coverage revoked, but ACA repeal would leave the rest of us in a smaller and sicker insurance pool, facing skyrocketing rates as a result.
While some of our Congressional members voted against Obamacare before, now these votes will have real consequences. Previous repeal votes were protests against Obamacare that everyone knew were going to be blocked.
With these votes to repeal coverage, our Congressional Representatives are no longer shooting with blanks–now the gun is loaded, and aimed directly at their California constituents who depend on this care and coverage.
NEW NUMBERS OF IMPACT BY CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT: In anticipation of the House vote tomorrow, Health Access released a fact sheet with new numbers, by Congressional district, detailing the enrollment in both the Medi-Cal expansion and for Covered California subsidies. Our Congressional delegation must understand the human cost of these votes, from the loss of coverage for millions to huge premium spikes for everybody else, and cuts to hospitals and providers that we all rely on.
In the average Congressional district, we could fill over four basketball arenas with people who would directly lose coverage or face a massive tax hike.
It’s wildly irresponsible to repeal without a replacement in place. Before any repeal, Congress should first produce a plan that protects the care that people have, keeping California covered with comprehensive benefits and limits on cost-sharing.
Today, tomorrow, and over the weekend, patient and community members are planning events in response across the state, particularly on the 15th, with Leader Nancy Pelosi in San Francisco and Senator Kamala Harris in Los Angeles. This continues the actions even before the Congressional session started and throughout the holidays. In November, over 250 rallied in Los Angeles, and last month, over 100 Californians came together in San Diego, Bakersfield, and other locations protesting health coverage rollbacks.
Find out more information about the #Fight4OurHealth.
Attend an event in your area!
Sunday, January 15th @ noon: Event with Senator Kamala Harris
Sunday, January 15th @ 1:00pm: Event with Democratic Congressional Leader Nancy Pelosi
Thursday, January 19th, 3:00pm: Senate Health Committee Hearing on effects of ACA repeal in California, Kern Board of Supervisors Chambers (RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org)
Friday, January 20th, 6:00pm: Candlelight Vigil