Challenges and Opportunities with Congress Back in Session

Congress is back in session today.

The good news is that there are bipartisan hearings scheduled, with testimony from a group of bipartisan Governors who last week released a series of recommendations for improving the ACA, including funding the cost-sharing reductions, reinsurance, fixing the family glitch, aggressive outreach and enrollment, and more.

The bad news is that the Trump Administration is actually going in the opposite direction. Last week, HHS said that they would be scaling back marketing (by 90%!) and application assistance funding for the upcoming open enrollment period. Thankfully, Covered California raises its own marketing budget, so we have the will & wherewithal to withstand yet another attempt to sabotage the ACA here in our state.

For example, earlier today, our California Senate Health Committee passed AB 156 (Wood) to maintain our three-month open enrollment period–despite a Trump Administration rule to reduce it to six weeks. (Read more about the bill in our Fact Sheet).

However, California’s ability to withstand these attacks depends on keeping the ACA’s framework and financing intact. Don’t forget that the House ACA repeal bill, the American Health Care Act, is still pending on the Senate floor, and there’s interest from Republican Governors, working with Senators Cassidy and Graham, to try again with a proposal that explicitly targets California.

But the main fight is the federal budget. The House is expected to soon have a floor vote on a budget resolution with $1.5 trillion dollars in Medicaid cuts (twice as much as what was in any of the ACA repeal bills) and another over $400 billion in Medicare cuts. Members of the #Fight4OurHealth coalition have already started to hold delegation meetings with key members of our Congressional delegation—starting this week with Rep. Denham—to urge them to oppose any budget or legislation that includes Medicaid, Medicare or health care cuts. More actions will come throughout this month.

What you can do right now:

We look forward to and need your help for this crucial next phase of the #Fight4OurHealth.