Affordable Care Act (ACA) STILL Under Threat from the Senate – Immediate Action Needed

A proposal to repeal and replace the ACA (a.k.a. Obamacare) is moving quickly through the Senate. If passed, it would be a disaster for millions of Americans. 

We believe our nation’s leaders have a moral obligation to work in a bipartisan and transparent manner to develop a national healthcare system that is affordable, accessible to everyone, and promotes quality. We must stop this indefensible bill that is being rushed through the Senate during the last few days of September.

Page Contents (click on a title to go to that section):
— Action Needed: 4 Things You Can Do Now

* Call, email, tweet your senators
* Ask your family and friends, especially in key states,to contact their senators
* Ask your minister to sign on to an interfaith letter in opposition to the Graham-Cassidy bill
* Spread the word through social media

— What’s Happening
— What Would the Proposed Graham-Cassidy Bill Do?
— Talking Points
— Our UU Spiritual Grounding
— Background, Resources and Relevant News Media Coverage Links

Updated as of 2017-09-22

Action Needed: 4 Things You Can Do Now

1 – Contact both of your senators. Call, write or do both!

Senate leaders want to schedule a vote on September 27. Tell your senators to vote NO on the Graham-Cassidy bill. If they do not support the bill, ask them to speak out in opposition to the bill. No Democrats are in support of the bill.

Capitol Switchboard – 202-224-3121

Our partner, NETWORK, provides this hotline to the Senate – 1-888-738-3058

Write a letter and send it via email to the healthcare staff in both of your Senators’ offices. Click here to find staff names and email addresses. Click here for talking points.

Suggested message:

“Hi, my name is [NAME] and I am a constituent from [CITY/TOWN]. As a person of faith, I’m calling to urge you to oppose the Graham-Cassidy proposal to repeal the Affordable Care Act. This would affect one sixth of the nation’s economy and is being rushed through in a matter of days. We need bipartisan fixes to expand healthcare coverage, not actions that take it away. I oppose any efforts to cut or cap Medicaid. No one should lose coverage as a result of any healthcare law replacement. We need affordable, accessible and quality healthcare for all. Please protect the human dignity of millions of Americans who would lose coverage and state your opposition to the Graham-Cassidy proposal. Where does the Senator stand on this issue?”

*Add your personal story!

Tweet your senators and use the hashtags #SaveMedicaid, #NoCutsNoCaps, #ProtectOurCare, #ADAPTandRESIST, #KeepAmericaCovered, and/or #CoverageMatters.

2 – Ask your friends and family members to call or email their senators, especially if they are in one of the states below. Send them the link to this page – 

(Communications to senators from states in bold are especially important.)

Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Maine, Nevada, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, Tennessee, West Virginia

3 – Ask your minister to sign on to the Interfaith Healthcare Coalition Sign-On Letter in Opposition to Graham–Cassidy.

National, regional and local religious leaders and UU organizations are welcome to add their names. Click here to read the letter and add a signature. Deadline: Sunday, September 24, 2017

4 – Spread the Word

Post messages to social media (Facebook, Twitter, etc.) and link to this page –

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What’s Happening?

A proposal to repeal and replace the ACA (Obamacare) is moving quickly through the Senate. Sponsored by Senators Lindsey Graham (SC) and Bill Cassidy (LA), this bill is being pushed and rushed through without thorough consideration in order to meet a September 30 procedural deadline, when the budget reconciliation rules expire. Under these rules, this bill could be passed by a simple majority, instead of the 60 votes typically required for major legislation.

Analysts warn that compared to its predecessors, Graham-Cassidy would increase the ranks of America’s medically uninsured more — by millions of people (some estimates are as many as 32 million people) — cost state governments billions more and pave the way for the elimination of all protection for those with pre-existing medical conditions.

On Tuesday, September 19, a bipartisan group of ten governors signed a letter to Senate leaders urging them not to consider the Graham-Cassidy proposal, and to “renew support for bipartisan efforts to make health care more available and affordable for all Americans.” Among the governors are 5 Democrats, 4 Republicans and one independent.

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What Would the Proposed Graham-Cassidy Bill Do?

  • Within ten years, eliminate all funding for the Medicaid expansion, which has enabled 11 million people to get health coverage; and the individual health insurance subsidies, which have enabled millions of low- and moderate-income individuals access affordable health care.

Medicaid expansion states would experience draconian cuts in healthcare funding.

  • Leave some of the most vulnerable people in our country – especially low-income children, seniors, and people with disabilities – without affordable medical care by capping and cutting Medicaid and ultimately dismantling the program.

The bill does not include support for programs dealing with the national opioid crisis. And, it defunds Planned Parenthood for one year from bill enactment.

  • Let insurers offer skimpier coverage and raise rates for people with pre-existing conditions by allowing states to waive patient protections.

Based on information from Friends Committee on National Legislation and Kaiser Family Foundation

If a vote is scheduled, Senators will vote without full information about the impact of the legislation on the American people. With the rushed schedule, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) does not have enough time to fully score the bill. The preliminary assessment will not include how the measure would affect health insurance premiums or the number of people with medical coverage. This affects one-sixth of the nation’s economy!  

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Talking Points

Urge Your Senators to:

  • abandon the rush of partisan efforts to repeal the ACA that would end the Medicaid program as we know it;
  • support bipartisan efforts and initiatives to stabilize the marketplace towards improving affordable, accessible and quality coverage for all;
  • provide adequate funding to address the opioid crisis;
  • protect women’s reproductive health programs.

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Our UU Spiritual Grounding

UUs are committed to promote policies that address the inequities in our economic mainstream and assure that all individuals have access to affordable, high-quality health care.

Based on our Religious Principles, we:

  • believe in a national health care system that provides quality care, accessible to all;
  • oppose attempts to reduce the access or quality of Medicaid given its significant role as the primary health care option for our country’s most vulnerable populations;
  • oppose attempts to jeopardize the healthcare infrastructure now in place under ACA;
  • urge protection of mandatory essential benefits. A specific concern is women’s reproductive health coverage and access to healthcare as provided for in the ACA;
  • insist on a democratic process that is open and transparent when legislating healthcare.

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Background, Resources and Relevant News Media Coverage Links

Washington Post 

– There’s one Obamacare repeal bill left standing. Here’s what’s in it.

– CBO: Initial report on Graham-Cassidy bill will lack coverage, premium and deficit estimates 

– The Health 202: The new GOP Obamacare repeal effort faces the same old math

Senator Van Hollen (D-MD) speaks on healthcare and the Graham-Cassidy bill on the Senate floor

Kaiser Family Foundation

– Summary of Graham-Cassidy-Heller Amendment

Five Ways the Graham-Cassidy Proposal Would Affect Women

Center on Budget and Policy Priorities – Like Other ACA Repeal Bills, Cassidy-Graham Plan Would Add Millions to Uninsured, Destabilize Individual Market

Robert Wood Johnson Foundation  – Statement from President and CEO Richard Besser, MD

Health Affairs Blog 

– New Graham-Cassidy Bill: A Last GOP Shot At ACA Repeal And Replace Through Reconciliation

– Graham-Cassidy: A Closer Look At The Medicaid Provisions

Friends Committee on National Legislation

– One More Time: Stop the Dangerous Health Care Bill

– The Graham-Cassidy Health Care Proposal Endangers Millions

LA TimesThe GOP’s last-ditch Obamacare repeal bill may be the worst one yet  

New York TimesMedicare for All or State Control: Health Care Plans Go to Extremes 

Chicago TribuneNew Senate health care push reflects high political stakes for Republicans 

The Republic/AZ CentralMcCain should listen to himself, not Ducey, on Senate healthcare bill

The AtlanticThe Graham-Cassidy Obamacare Repeal Bill Still Covers Fewer People 

TimeSenate Republicans Are Trying to Repeal Obamacare Again 

CNNWhat’s in the latest Obamacare repeal bill?

Tennessean – Sen. Lamar Alexander pulls plug on bipartisan Obamacare fix

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