While cable news has been transfixed by James Comey and Jeff Sessions, Mitch McConnell has been busy. He is preparing to ram the disastrous health care repeal bill that House Republicans passed last month through the Senate and down the throats of the American people. McConnell isn’t holding hearings on the bill where Senate members get to debate openly and hear testimony from experts. Instead, Senate Republicans are writing the bill in secret. The public, the press, and their Democratic colleagues are all in the dark about the contents of a bill that would reshape one-sixth of the American economy. The only people they are bothering to get input from? The for-profit insurance industry.
The health care repeal bill, often known as “Trumpcare”, would be a disaster for tens of millions of Americans, and especially those over fifty. Trumpcare would allow health insurance corporations to charge older Americans up to five time as much for coverage. Particularly for those just below Medicare age, this would be catastrophic. Currently, a 64-year-old with total income of $26,500 pays an average of $1,700 a year for health insurance bought in an Affordable Care Act exchange. Under Trumpcare, she would pay $16,100 a year! That’s more than the average Social Security benefit.
Even those who are over 65 would not be spared the ravages of Trumpcare. That’s because this bill doesn’t just repeal the Affordable Care Act – it also guts Medicaid, cutting it by a massive $834 billion in order to fund a tax giveaway to the ultra-rich. Millions of Americans, low-income seniors and people with disabilities, are eligible for both Medicare and Medicaid. Medicaid is particularly essential for those who require long-term care, which will be most of us one day. An estimated 70 percent of Americans 65 and older will someday require long-term care, and over three-quarters of long-stay nursing home residents will eventually be covered by Medicaid. Is there any way to stop this disaster in its tracks? Yes, but the window is quickly closing. To stop McConnell’s health care repeal bill, we need to convince three Republicans to vote no. That’s why we’ve spent the last few months traveling around the country on a “Hands Off Medicare and Medicaid Tour”, galvanizing opposition to Trumpcare in states with potentially persuadable Republican Senators.
But McConnell is currently in the midst of whipping his caucus, twisting arms to get the votes he needs. That’s why now is the moment to call your senators. Do it daily, until this monstrous bill is dead. If your Senators are Republicans, demand that they vote no. If they are Democrats, ask them to use any means possible to delay the vote. Even an extra two weeks, especially over the July recess, could give the resistance enough time to mobilize and scare vulnerable Republicans into voting no.
We are going to be doing everything we can to stop this monstrosity and are planning Hands Off Medicare and Medicaid events in West Virginia and Alaska in the next few weeks, keep an eye on our Facebook page for event details.
Just how terrible is this bill? Since McConnell has refused to release the Senate’s version of the health care repeal bill, we don’t know exactly what’s in it. But all reports indicate that it is very similar to the bill passed by the House of Representatives last month.
- Rips health insurance away from 23 million Americans
- Cuts dedicated Medicare funding by $59 billion over the next decade
- Cuts federal funding for Medicaid by $834 billion over the next decade
- Increases insurance costs for older Americans 55-64 by as much as 800%
- Ends Medicaid’s new protections for older adults just below Medicare eligibility age by shifting costs of Medicaid expansion to the states
- Fundamentally threatens Medicaid’s protections for low-income seniors and people with disabilities by taking away its guarantee and placing a per enrollee cap on federal funding
- Threatens Medicaid’s long-term care protections for seniors and people with disabilities, including those also receiving Medicare
- Removes critical funding for our national healthcare system to create a massive tax break for millionaires and billionaires
- Significantly increases all out-of-pocket healthcare costs for older adults just below Medicare eligibility age
- Paves the way for future, even more drastic cuts to Medicare and Medicaid
Below are some of the senators who, for a variety of reasons, might vote no on Trumpcare. If one of them represents your state, call today! And again tomorrow! And the next day! Ask your friends and family in those states to call as well. Don’t stop calling, and getting others to call, until the bill is defeated!
Lisa Murkowski (Alaska): 202-224-6665, 907-271-3735
Dan Sullivan (Alaska): 202-224-3004, 907-271-5915
Shelley Moore Capito (West Virginia): 202-224-6472, 304-347-5372
Susan Collins (Maine): 202-224-2523, 207-780-3575
Dean Heller (Nevada): 202-224-6244, 702-388-6605
Rob Portman (Ohio): 202-224-3353, 614-469-6774
Cory Gardner (Colorado): 202-224-5941, 303-391-5777
Todd Young (Indiana): 202-224-5623, 317-226-6700
Jeff Flake (Arizona): 202-224-4521, 602-840-189
Pat Toomey (Pennsylvania): 202-224-4254, 412-803-3501
Rand Paul (Kentucky): 202-224-4343, 270-782-8303
Tom Cotton (Arkansas): 202-224-2353, 479-751-0879
Bill Cassidy (Louisiana): 202-224-5824, 225-929-7711