Since the May 4 passage of the House healthcare bill, all efforts have been focused on the Senate, urging moderation. Instead, Senate Majority Leader McConnell chose to deepen the (partisan) divide by
- deciding the Senate healthcare bill is budget-related, allowing it to be considered through a reconciliation process that prohibits filibustering, allows only 20 hours of debate and requires a simple majority for passage.
- naming a committee of 13 Republican (male) senators to come up with the Senate bill.
- allowing the committee to work behind closed doors without input from Democratic colleagues or any public hearings.
The Senate is voting the week of July 25 on the repeal of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), the Better Care Reconciliation Act (BRCA) and amendments, and related bills. The Senate BCRA was introduced on June 22. Since then, it’s been clear that McConnell does not have the votes he needs for passage. All Democratic and Independent senators oppose the bill. The bill has been revised twice and McConnell still doesn’t have the votes.
Most recently, three Republican women senators – Collins (Maine), Capito (West Virginia), Murkowski (Alaska) – have made it clear they will not support a bill that hurts people. Twelve Republican senators have expressed concerns about cuts to Medicaid and increases in premiums on the elderly and sick. Collins and Murkowski say they will not defund women’s healthcare through Planned Parenthood.
WHAT YOU CAN DO NOW
Remain vigilant! Stay informed about Senate efforts to repeal the ACA. If they repeal but don’t replace, as many as 32 million people will lose healthcare by 2026, including 17 million just in 2018, and Medicaid expansion will stop, according to the July 19 CBO report.
Contact your Senators and urge them to drop the effort to repeal the ACA. They must work across the aisle with their colleagues to fix the ACA and give more Americans access to affordable, quality healthcare. No plan should cut Medicaid or cap Medicaid Expansion.
Call both of your Senators’ Capitol Hill offices.
Call 202-224-3121 and ask to be transferred to the Senator’s office. If the number is busy or you don’t get through, call 1-888-738-3058. Or find your senators’ direct phone number and other contact information from this list.
Maryland: Sen. Cardin (202) 224-4524; Sen. Van Hollen (202) 224-4654
Virginia: Sen. Kaine (202) 224-4024; Sen. Warner (202) 224-2023
Here’s a sample script for calling – Look up where your Senators stand (as of July 25) and adapt your message for their position. If they oppose this bad bill say “thank you and please work for a bipartisan solution to fix the ACA so more people will have healthcare.”
My name is ____________ and I live in (city and state) ____________.
I believe that healthcare is a moral issue. Everyone deserves access to quality, affordable healthcare. I’m deeply concerned about the Senate’s efforts to repeal, and possibly replace, the Affordable Care Act. While it’s not perfect, the ACA has reduced the uninsured rate each year. So far, review of the Senate’s proposals to repeal and/or replace the ACA show they would do incredible harm, especially to the elderly, children, poor people and women.
I urge the Senator to oppose any bill that cuts or caps Medicaid, or phases out Medicaid expansion. Don’t give tax breaks to the wealthy and insurance companies by taking away healthcare from millions of people including the most vulnerable Americans. Let’s make fixes to the ACA.