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RWVoices

Thursday
Jun222017

RWV condemns Senate Trumpcare bill

– STATEMENT –


Raising Women’s Voices Condemns Senate Trumpcare Bill: 
Even “Meaner” than House Version

Last week Donald Trump privately admitted to Republicans that the House-passed bill to gut Medicaid and repeal key parts of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is “mean.” Today Senate Republicans released their Trumpcare bill to the public for the first time—just days before they plan to rush through a final vote—and it is even “meaner.” 

With today’s bill, Senate Republicans have made clear that tax cuts for their donors are more important than health care for their constituents. Despite numerous promises that they would start over, the House and Senate bills are nearly identical in substance. The bill would:

  • Slash health care for poor and middle-class Americans in order to finance a huge tax cut for corporations and the ultra-wealthy.
  • Eliminate Medicaid’s guarantee of coverage for the first time in history, threatening 75 million pregnant women, children, people with disabilities, seniors, veterans, and more.
  • End the Medicaid expansion, eliminating coverage for 14 million Americans, many of whom got health insurance for the first time as a result of the ACA’s expansion.
  • Strip private health insurance from millions of Americans, including many who currently get coverage through their job.
  • Raise premiums and out-of-pocket costs for millions of others.
  • Allow states to let insurance companies drop coverage of essential health benefits such as maternity care, hospitalizations, prescription drugs, and mental health services—thereby gutting protections for people with pre-existing conditions.
  • Allow states to let insurance companies reinstate limits on annual and lifetime coverage, which could affect employees of large corporations no matter where they live.
  • Bar women and men with Medicaid or other types of public insurance from using their coverage for health services at Planned Parenthood, forcing clinics to close.
  • Attack private health insurance coverage of abortion.
  • And more.

The bill is set for a vote on the Senate floor next week having received no hearings, no expert testimony, no amendments in committee, and a level of closed-door partisanship unseen in the Senate since World War I.

We call on our senators to reject this blatant assault on the health care that our families need! Raising Women’s Voices and our regional coordinators and supporters across the country will hold accountable any senator who votes for this terrible bill.

Tuesday
Jun202017

Take action to stop the Senate’s secret Trumpcare bill!

Senate Republicans are committed to voting NEXT WEEK on their still-secret version of Trumpcare, which would remake our health care system and strip coverage from millions. They plan to do this with no hearings, no expert testimony, no amendments in committee and a mere 20 hours of debate on the Senate floor. That’s in contrast to the 25 straight days of floor debate on the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

They want to repeal the ACA, which was the biggest leap forward for women’s health and LGBTQ health in a generation. But it would do more than repeal the ACA. It would attack Medicaid coverage for children, pregnant women, people with disabilities, seniors, veterans and more.

It would attack Planned Parenthood’s ability to serve low-income women and anyone with public health insurance. 

That’s why we must act now!

Raising Women’s Voices is joining a national Day of Action tomorrow (Wednesday, June 21). In Washington, there will be a rally at the Capitol at 11 a.m. Across the nation, there will be Pink Out the Night rallies to save Planned Parenthood. In New York City, there will be a 24-hour Vigil to Save U.S. Healthcare, taking place near the Trump International Hotel at Columbus Circle.  Join one of these events, or find one near you here.

Most importantly, call your senators! You can reach your Senator through the Senate switchboard at 202-224-3121. You can use this free call-in number to call Republican Senators: 866-426-2631.

Tell Senate Democrats that you support their efforts to shut down the Senate until Republicans commit to an open, transparent process.

Tell Senate Republicans to vote no on any bill negotiated in secret and hidden from the American public before being rushed to a vote. Not since World War I has the Senate rushed such far-reaching legislation through in such a partisan, closed-door process. Republicans are hiding this bill because they know how bad it is and they’re scared of the public finding out before they vote. 

Tell them to vote no on any bill that would take insurance away from millions of people who have it now. What little we know about the Senate version of Trumpcare is that it will be the House-passed version with window dressing. Despite promises from nearly every Republican Senator that the Senate would start over, the number two Republican in the Senate, John Cornyn (R-TX), has told his members that the bill will be “80 percent of what the House did.”  The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) predicted that the House version of Trumpcare would cause 23 million people to lose insurance. Millions more will face higher premiums and higher out-of-pocket costs, and thousands of women and LGBTQ people who depend on Planned Parenthood will lose access to health care services like cancer screenings and STD testing, if they have public insurance coverage.

Tell them to vote no on any bill that guts Medicaid to pay for tax cuts for the ultra-rich. Both the House and Senate versions of Trumpcare end the ACA’s Medicaid expansion. But they also go much further, making deep, deep cuts to Medicaid in order to pay for a massive tax cut for the ultra-wealthy. In fact, the Senate version actually makes a much deeper cut to original Medicaid than the House bill did. While some Republicans have simply looked their constituents in the eyes and lied about that fact, the numbers don’t lie. Trumpcare cuts $880 billion from Medicaid to give the top 400 wealthiest households in America an average tax cut of $7 million apiece.
 
Call your friends and family members and tell them to call their Senators too!  This tactic is especially useful if you have friends and family members whose Senators are in the Republican majority that is pushing the disastrous Trumpcare bill.
 
Help share the message on social media. Like our Facebook page and follow us on Twitter. Share our messages with friends and family.
 
Make it clear to Senate Republicans that we won’t forget if they vote to take away our care!

 

 

Thursday
Jun152017

End Senate secrecy: Show us your Trumpcare bill now!

While the national press has been focused on Donald Trump's possible collusion with Russia and obstruction of justice, as well as the deplorable shooting of a House Republican, Senate Republicans have been negotiating in total secrecy their plan to cut health insurance for the poor and middle class in order to pay for massive tax cuts for the ultra-rich

Senate leadership’s goal is to send a full draft of their Trumpcare bill to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) by the end of this week, in order to force a vote on passage before Senators head home for the July 4 recess. They intend to release both the bill text and its CBO score to the public on Monday, June 26, and take a vote 48 hours later -- with no hearings, no votes in committee, no expert testimony, no public discussion drafts, and a bare 20 hours of debate on the Senate floor.

By contrast, the Affordable Care Act went through a full committee process, included dozens of Republican amendments, and was debated on the Senate floor for a record-breaking “25 straight days, including weekends,” as John McCain himself noted in 2013.

When asked if they would release a draft to the public, a top GOP aide scoffed, “we aren’t stupid.” Republicans even briefly tried to block the longstanding practice of reporters filming interviews with senators in Capitol building hallways.
 
As Vox’s Dylan Scott noted: “Legislation overhauling one-sixth of the economy, in other words, could be rushed to the Senate floor with minimal public scrutiny. A plan that less than 20 percent of the public supports, that could determine whether millions of Americans will have health coverage, could pass without any experts testifying publicly in front of the Senate.”
 

Don’t let them hide this bill until the last minute!

 
Everyone, including Republican voters, should be angry about this secrecy. But, as of Monday, Senate staff reported that Senate call volumes had returned to their pre-Trump levels. Our silence is giving Republicans a lot of freedom to press forward and they seem to be getting close to the 50 votes they need.
 
Republican "centrists" like Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) and Bill Cassidy (R-LA), for example, have hinted that they'll vote for the bill even with its deep cuts to original Medicaid so long as the elimination of the Medicaid expansion takes seven years instead of three. (Why seven? If the elimination starts after 2020, as rumored, and takes seven years, a portion of the coverage losses could fall outside of CBO's 10-year scoring window, making the impact of the bill seem less damaging than it is.) Meanwhile, conservatives are hinting that they could support the bill if they're promised additional whacks at health care through the budget process.
 
So now is the time to call, call, call!!!! While activity paused on Wednesday in response to the tragic shooting, Senate Republicans didn’t stop their work and neither can we. Who should you call and what should you say?

  • If you have Republican senators, call and tell them not to support a bill negotiated in secret that will strip insurance away from millions of Americans. Here’s what to say:  “It’s outrageous/appalling/disgraceful that the Senate is keeping its health care bill a secret. I urge you to vote no on any bill negotiated in secret that will strip insurance away from millions of Americans.”
  • If you have Democratic Senators, call and thank them for their unified opposition to the bill, and urge them to take whatever steps they can to slow down the Senate’s business. Here’s what to say: “Thank you for your opposition to any bill that would repeal the Affordable Care Act and take health insurance away from millions of people.  I urge you to take whatever procedural steps you can to slow down the rush to a Senate vote on this outrageous/appalling/ disgraceful bill. Please demand an end to the secrecy and a full debate on any repeal bill.”
  • If you have friends and family members in states with some of the key Republican Senators shown in the list below, call them and get them to call their Senators. In general, we don’t think it is effective for you to call a Senator who represents a different state.

RWV’s Maryland regional coordinator, Consumer Health First, recently had this important advice for anyone living in a “blue” progressive state like theirs: “We are very lucky in Maryland to have staunch supporters of the ACA like Senators Chris Van Hollen and Ben Cardin. They are going all out to defeat the bill, but they need help. First, thank them for their work and send them your stories. However, not everyone is so lucky. Contact those friends and family and share this information with them.” Consumer Health First also gets a shout-out today for their guest commentary published in Maryland Matters!
 
Here are the names and phone numbers of key Senators. When two Senators are listed in a state, the top one is the priority for calls, but it couldn’t hurt to call both!
 
Alaska

  • Sen. Lisa Murkowski - (202) 224-6665
  • Sen. Dan Sullivan - (202) 224-3004

Arizona

  • Sen. Jeff Flake  - (202) 224-4521
  • Sen. John McCain – (202) 224-22235

Arkansas

  • Sen. Tom Cotton - (202) 224-2353
  • Sen. John Boozman – (202) 224-4843

Colorado

  • Sen. Cory Gardner - (202) 224-5941

Nevada

  • Sen. Dean Heller - (202) 224-6244

Louisiana

  • Sen. Bill Cassidy - (202) 224-5824
  • Sen. John Kennedy – (202-224-4623

Maine

  • Sen. Susan Collins - (202) 224-2523

Nebraska

  • Sen. Ben Sasse - (202) 224-4224
  • Deb Fischer – (202) 224-6551

Ohio

  • Sen. Rob Portman - (202) 224-3353

Pennsylvania

  • Sen. Pat Toomey - (202) 224-4254

South Carolina

  • Sen. Lindsey Graham - (202) 224-5972
  • Sen. Tim Scott – (202) 224-6121

Tennessee

  • Sen. Bob Corker - (202) 224-3344
  • Sen. Lamar Alexander - (202) 224-4944

West Virginia

  • Sen. Shelley Moore Capito - (202) 224-6472

 

Thursday
Jun082017

Watch out for the Senate’s Trumpcare bill!

Senate leaders trying to rush through a Trumpcare bill

If you’ve been following recent headlines about the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and the status of Trumpcare in the Senate, you’re bound to feel some whiplash. This week, we’ll walk through what has happened so far and what could happen next. But the most important takeaway: the next three weeks are critical to stopping Trumpcare in its tracks!
 
Here's what we know…
 
After several weeks of speculation, the House-passed Trumpcare bill finally passed its last major procedural hurdle this week, clearing its path to come to the Senate floor. This means that nothing in the bill will require it to be sent back to the House for another vote before the Senate can take it up. But it does not mean that every provision in the House-passed bill is eligible for inclusion in the Senate bill under the narrow rules that govern “reconciliation.” (Reconciliation is the parliamentary tool that lets Senate Republicans bypass a Democratic filibuster and pass a bill with just 50 senators.) There are still open questions about whether the House’s attack on essential health benefits, protections for pre-existing conditions, Planned Parenthood, abortion coverage and more would qualify.
 
With the House-passed bill now officially heading to the Senate, Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (KY) is pushing for a floor vote this June before his members head home to meet their constituents over the Fourth of July recess. Like their counterparts in the House, Senate Republicans plan to hold no hearings, hear from no expert witnesses, invite no public comment, and include no Democrats in their negotiations. Instead, they are working out a deal to take health insurance away from millions of Americans in top-secret, Republican-only closed door sessions.
 
The moment a deal has been reached that can win 50 Republican votes, McConnell is expected to hold a vote on his own substitute Senate bill. But don’t let the word “substitute” fool you. Despite the nearly universal condemnation of the House-passed bill from Senate centrists, the Senate deal is expected to include “80 percent of what the House did,” according to the John Cornyn (R-TX), the Republican whip.
 
News reports suggests that the McConnell language could be headed to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) as early as this Friday. With the Senate bill closely mirroring language from the House already scored by the CBO, it’s possible that CBO could produce a new score soon after. That’s important because, unlike the House, the Senate must have a CBO score before voting on the bill under the rules of reconciliation.
 
The timing of a Senate vote in June would be an unfortunate blow to the celebration of LGBTQ Pride month, since 1.8 million LGBT people have gained health coverage due to the ACA.


So what can we expect in a Senate bill?

The bill is likely to keep:

  • deep tax cuts for the ultra-wealthy averaging $7 million apiece for the 400 richest households,
  • the elimination of the Medicaid expansion,
  • deep cuts to original Medicaid and unprecedented caps on the number of people it can serve,
  • skimpy House-passed tax credits for purchasing private insurance to replace the Affordable Care Act’s more generous support,
  • higher premiums for older Americans and higher out-of-pocket expenses for everyone,
  • an attack on Planned Parenthood’s ability to serve patients with public health insurance such as Medicaid

 

In fact, the biggest differences between the two bills could be over timing, not substance. For example, the Senate bill could keep the House's biggest Medicaid changes but delay them from taking effect until after the 2020 election. 
 

Meanwhile, Senate Republicans are using the turmoil that their party and their president have created in health insurance markets nationwide as their rationale for rushing through a bill that only 17% of Americans like. This week insurer Anthem announced it would be leaving the ACA marketplace in Ohio, citing the uncertainty created by repeated threats from the Trump administration to stop the payments (known as cost-sharing reduction payments) that keep out-of-pocket costs low for low-income households. As the Washington Post noted, the Republican strategy is “as brazen as anything in modern politics — undermining the current operation of the ACA, and arguing that the law, thus undermined, is falling apart.”
 
What happens next?
 
Several news reports have suggested that McConnell might try to force a vote on Trumpcare—even if he doesn’t have the votes locked up for passage—in order to let his caucus “move on” from health care to corporate tax cuts. But the House’s experience in March after Speaker Paul Ryan was forced to pull his first Trumpcare bill is instructive. The GOP base—or rather, the parallel party infrastructure of right-wing think tanks, donors, and media outlets that leads the party—rose up in outrage that Republicans were giving up on their 7-year promise to “repeal Obamacare.” If McConnell wants to be free of the health care albatross, he knows he needs to rush something through. Anything. At any cost.
 
At the same time, press reports have suggested that if the Senate passes a bill this June, Congress will have the full month of July before its month-long August recess to negotiate the differences between the two chambers. But if a vote is held in the Senate and if the bill passes, the House will be under enormous pressure to simply accept the Senate package. Any package exiting the Senate is likely to look better than the House version—if only because it's hard to do worse than 23 million people losing coverage. But the longer the Senate bill is exposed to the sunlight of public scrutiny, the worse it will look. House leadership will have every incentive to move fast. The House could schedule a vote within a day or two of Senate passage, even if leadership has to keep House members in town over the holiday to get it done.
 
Which brings us back to what we said in the beginning: The next three weeks are absolutely key. 
 
Republican senators who will be most critical to this fight are Shelley Moore Capito (WV), Dean Heller (NV), Susan Collins (ME), Lisa Murkowski (AK), Jeff Flake (AZ), Bill Cassidy (LA), Rob Portman (OH). But even if your senator isn't on that list, don't let that stop you. Even conservatives like Steve Daines (R-MT) and Tom Cotton (R-AR) have suggested they’re a tad uncomfortable with taking health insurance away from millions of their constituents. We will win or lose this fight based on just how uncomfortable we can make them!


Thursday
May252017

Add Trump budget to Trumpcare and what do you get?

Trumpcare + Trump budget = Devastating news for women and families

The news from Washington this week really couldn’t be worse for women and our families. Yesterday, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) issued its “score” of the final Trumpcare bill that passed the House of Representatives. The day before, the Trump administration proposed an alarming budget that would make things even worse. How does it all add up?

Next year, 14 million more people would be uninsured, according to the CBO. That number would climb to 19 million in 2020 and 23 million in 2026. This means that the historic coverage gains from the Affordable Care Act (ACA) would be eliminated, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities analysis.  Because of the ACA, the rate of un-insurance among women had been cut in half.

The Medicaid program would be slashed by more than $834 billion in cuts over the next 10 years from Trumpcare, PLUS another $600 billion from the Trump budget. That’s because the ACA’s Medicaid expansion would be ended, and Medicaid would be radically restructured. Medicaid covers one in five women of reproductive health age and pays for half the births in the United States.  It covers 34 million children.

The ACA’s guarantee that maternity care and mental health care would be covered in our health insurance plans would disappear in many states. That’s because Trumpcare would allow states to drop requirements that insurers cover Essential Health Benefits (EHBs), which include maternity care and mental health care. As a result, the CBO predicted, “Out-of-pocket spending on maternity care and mental health and substance abuse services could increase by thousands of dollars in a given year” for individuals who need that care and live in those states.

Women would once again face higher premiums for pre-existing conditions, like having been a victim of sexual assault or domestic violence, or having once had a Cesarean section delivery. That’s because under Trumpcare, insurers could go back to the pre-ACA days of having us fill out lengthy medical history questionnaires and then charging more to sick people and people the insurers decide have pre-existing conditions.


Yes, that’s right! The claims by Trump and House Speaker Paul Ryan that the final Trumpcare bill (H.R. 1628) would “protect people with pre-existing conditions” were false.  The CBO score explains:  “People who are less healthy (including those with preexisting or newly acquired medical conditions) would ultimately be unable to purchase comprehensive nongroup health insurance at premiums comparable to those under current law, if they could purchase it at all — despite the additional funding that would be available under H.R. 1628 to help reduce premiums.”

Heard enough? Want to take action to defend the health coverage we and our families need? Here are some things you can do at family events over the holiday weekend, and all next week, when members of Congress will be home in their districts for another recess:

  • At barbecues or other events over the long Memorial Day weekend, take the time to explain to your family and friends what’s at stake for women and our families. If we are to defeat Trumpcare and the proposed Trump budget, we will have to spread the word about what these proposals would mean for our health care.
  • If your family members will be remembering a loved one who died in service to our country,  share with them this analysis from Families USA about how  Medicaid cuts from Trumpcare would hurt the 1.75 million veterans who rely on Medicaid coverage.
  • Join a protest or Congressional town hall meeting to let your member of Congress know that women and our families do not want these devastating cuts to our health care. You can find an event near you by visiting the website of Resistance Near Me, a partnership between MoveOn, the Center for American Progress and the Town Hall Project.
  • Join Raising Women’s Voices in speaking out on line, with colorful graphics and lots of facts you can share with friends and family. You can find us on Facebook and Twitter.