Congressman John Dingell probably has the best description of the GOP's "repeal and replace" plan: "House GOP had the better half of a decade to provide a viable alternative to the ACA. Instead, they scribbled some tax cuts on a bar napkin."
Not just some tax cuts of course, but massive tax cuts for the wealthy and for insurance companies. The proposed bill also denies access to affordable health care for millions.
Excuse me: Why does GOP Health Bill give an insurance co a larger tax break to increase CEO pay than it gives a family to buy coverage?— Ronald Klain (@RonaldKlain) March 7, 2017
The GOP is in quite a bind, however. Their bill is getting attacked from moderate and conservative Republicans. Some Republicans, like members of the ultra-conservative House Freedom Caucus, don't think the bill goes far enough in repealing Obamacare. Meanwhile, on the Senate side, several key Republican Senators have already said they won't support a bill that slashes Medicaid expansion.
What does this mean for our advocacy?
- The bill as is will not pass. Period. Even the President, who called it "wonderful," said it was a starting point for "review" and "negotiation." This means we do not fight the bill as is, since it will change many times before final vote. Not only will it be marked up in committee, but it will be amended many times on the House floor, revised again in committee on the Senate side, then amended again on the Senate floor, etc.
- We must frame the bill for what it is -- a massive tax cut for the rich and a boon for insurance companies saddled on the backs of the poor and the middle class, who lose access to affordable health insurance coverage.
- We must hold the line on ACA supporters and pressure key Republicans who will eventually become the deciding votes on a final bill.
- This will be a long-term, multi-faceted advocacy endeavor. As the bill progresses through the legislative process, we'll continue to research and produce action alerts which will become more and more targeted.
House GOP had the better half of a decade to provide a viable alternative to the ACA. Instead, they scribbled some tax cuts on a bar napkin.— John Dingell (@JohnDingell) March 7, 2017
INITIAL ACTION: CALL YOUR MEMBERS IN CONGRESS TO HOLD THE LINE ON ACA FUNDAMENTALS
As the GOP's bill will be revised extensively, it's important that we focus on the broad strokes of what should be unacceptable to any member of Congress. Call your Representative and Senators. If you're in Illinois, click here for phone numbers. If you're not in Illinois, click here to look up your elected's contact information. NOTE: If you don't have luck at their DC number, call a district office (numbers for those are on their websites).
SCRIPT: "Hello, my name is X and I am a constituent. I am calling to urge Rep./Sen. X to reject the GOP's health insurance plan. Does the Senator/Rep. have a position on the bill yet?"
If they reject the bill: "Thank you and please let Rep./Sen. X how much I appreciate the fact they are standing up for what's right."
If they support the bill: "I don't understand how Rep./Sen. X can support a bill that threatens health care for 24 million Americans. Any replacement of the ACA should provide at least as good coverage as the ACA, both in access and quality."
If they don't have a position: "I urge Rep./Sen. X to reject any bill that doesn't provide at least as good coverage as the ACA, both in access and quality."
Personal stories of how repeal would affect yourself, friends, or family are particularly effective if you have them.
If you leave a message, don't forget to leave your name, address, and zip code so your rep knows you're a constituent.
FOLLOW UP ACTION: CALL YOUR FRIENDS & FAMILY WHO HAVE REPUBLICAN REPRESENTATIVES OR CONSERVATIVE DEMOCRATIC REPRESENTATIVES
If you live in a district or a state whose representatives are already defenders of the ACA, calling them and thanking them is great, but we need you to begin helping us work on siphoning off Republican votes for the GOP's bill as well. Please forward this page to your friends and family who live in more conservative districts, or share it on Facebook with a note asking those who live in red districts to action.
Thank you for being a part of this movement!
Our advocacy & education programming depends on people like you! Click below to donate now and support ABT's efforts to empower the new grassroots movement: