It’s only the first week of 2017, and already our health care is under attack. In Washington, opponents of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) are readying Congressional votes to repeal the health care law without presenting a viable replacement plan and to defund Planned Parenthood. They’re also talking about big changes in Medicaid and Medicare. Meanwhile, we’re reeling from a judge’s action on New Year’s Eve instituting a nationwide injunction against the ACA rule that was about to go into effect protecting transgender people from discrimination in health care.
The politicians pushing this reckless vote are insisting that they will delay the effective date of the ACA repeal and that eventually, they will come up with a plan to replace the health care law. But nothing we’ve seen so far would safeguard the more than 20 million people who’ve gained health coverage because of the ACA. So, we have to ask: What’s the rush? Why vote on repealing the ACA before you show us your replacement plan? We fear the truth is that their promise to fix this disaster later is a sham.
What can YOU do to protect our health care? The challenges we are facing can seem enormous. But there are concrete things you can do to fight back. If you or anyone you know (a family member, a friend, a neighbor, a patient of yours, someone in your community) has been helped by the ACA health care law, now is the time to speak out! Here’s the first thing you can do:
- Call the people who represent you in Washington. SEIU has set up a toll-free number (866) 426 2631 to help you contact your Senators. The Senate is the place where this ill-advised plan could be stopped. Already, two Republican Senators (Susan Collins of Maine and Rand Paul of Kentucky) are expressing worries about repealing the ACA without having a replacement ready to go. We need more Senators to voice the same concerns if we are to halt the risky repeal without replacement vote.
- What to say? The message is simple: Don’t take away our health care! Personalize it, if you can. For example, you could say: “Because of the financial help I got (premium subsidies made possible by the ACA), I was finally able to afford health insurance and get the care I need.” Or, “Because my sister qualified for the expanded Medicaid program, she was able to get a mammogram and other women’s health care she desperately needed, but could not afford.” You can learn more about what women could lose by looking at the fact sheets on our website here.
- Tell your Senators and representative that defunding Planned Parenthood and other women’s clinics is a terrible idea. One in five women has visited a Planned Parenthood health center for care in her lifetime and many rely on Planned Parenthood or other women’s clinics as their primary health provider. This is especially true for women who are uninsured. It makes no sense to repeal ACA health insurance coverage and at the same time, defund the only place millions of women will be able to go for the care they need.
- Spread the word! Encourage your friends, relatives, and neighbors to take these same actions to protect our care.
- Tell your story! Our Senators need to hear what would happen if you and your family lose your health insurance coverage because the ACA is repealed. You can share your story on Facebook and Twitter using the hashtag #IfILoseCoverage. An easy way to do this is to take a piece of paper and write your story on it. Keep it short. Just finish this sentence: If I (or we) lose coverage….. (what will happen?) Then have someone take a photo of you and your sign, and post the image on your Facebook timeline.
What can we do about that judge’s injunction against the ACA nondiscrimination rule protecting transgender people? Here’s one idea: Contact the state Attorneys General who are pushing the lawsuit challenging the rule. If you live in one of these states, call your Attorney General’s office and say you oppose this use of your state tax dollars: Texas, Wisconsin, Nebraska, Kansas, Louisiana, Arizona, Kentucky, and Mississippi. You can visit the website of the National Association of Attorneys General to find out who they are and how to contact them.
Each week, we will update you about what is happening, and offer some suggestions about actions you can take. To keep up to speed every day, like our Facebook page, where we post updates several times a day.
Coming up soon will be the Jan. 15 nationwide “day of action” to mobilize grassroots opposition to the repeal of the ACA with no replacement. Next week, we will describe some of the actions planned in different states and tell you how to get involved. Already have plans or ideas for local actions in your state? Let us know what you have planned! Contact us at info(at)RaisingWomensVoices.net