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« We can’t let up! | Main | Keeping up momentum from the marches! »

Don’t be fooled or deterred!

Day after day, there is horrifying news as the Trump administration careens from violating the human rights of immigrants and refugees to nominating for the Supreme Court Judge Neil Gorsuch, who is best known for using “religious freedom” as a fig leaf to attack reproductive health. Today, there are reports that the administration is preparing to issue an Executive Order that would grant individuals and corporations broad-based “religious freedom” rights, including for refusals to cover contraception and for discrimination against LGBTQ people.
The White House doesn’t want us to focus for too long on any one attack on our rights, or notice that despite all the talk of immediately repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act (ACA), it hasn’t happened yet. The White House has produced no replacement plan of its own and Congressional Republicans are fighting with each other, as their constituents raise alarm about losing their health insurance coverage. They’re even trying to fool us by saying they are just going to “fix” or “repair” the ACA, instead of repealing the law with no replacement.
But we’re not fooled or deterred! We’re resisting at every step – exposing the true impact of these attacks on real people, and demanding our elected representatives protect our care.
RWV regional coordinator Anduwyn Williams of WV Free (in white hat on a chilly day) joined a Save My Care rally on the steps of the West Virginia Capitol in Charleston. Since West Virginia would reportedly be the state second most affected by ACA repeal, West Virginians have a lot at stake in the fight to protect coverage gains made under the ACA. One West Virginian mother shared her family’s story, detailing the ways in which the ACA provided her young son with life changing treatments for autism. West Virginia’s U.S. Senator Shelley Moore Capito is one of the Republicans under pressure not to go along with repealing the ACA without a replacement that would cover as many people with the same quality health care at an affordable cost.
Rebranding ACA replacement as “repair”
The latest attempt to fool and distract us is emerging in Congress, where House and Senate Republicans are trying out some new, softer words to describe their intent to dismantle the Affordable Care Act. Bloomberg News reports that some of these politicians are starting to talk about “repair” of the ACA or ‘fixing” the ACA.
Who can blame them for trying to call it something else? Last week, House and Senate Republicans met with the administration in Philadelphia hoping to emerge with a game plan for repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act. Instead—according to audio of the private meeting leaked to the Washington Post—they revealed the deep schisms in their party.
Rep. Tom MacArthur (R-NJ) cautioned his colleagues, “We’re telling those people that we’re not going to pull the rug out from under them, and if we do this too fast, we are in fact going to pull the rug out from under them.” Rep. Tom McClintock (R-CA) worried aloud: “We need to understand exactly: What does that [post-repeal] market look like? And I haven’t heard the answer yet. … We’d better be sure that we’re prepared to live with the market we’ve created [after repeal]. That’s going to be called Trumpcare. Republicans will own that lock, stock and barrel.”
Their concerns about what the public thinks are justified. A Quinnipiac University poll released on Friday concluded that 84% of voters don’t want Congress to repeal the ACA “until there is a replacement plan in place,” compared to only 13% who want to see it repealed immediately. And a report released Monday by the Economic Policy Institute has found that repealing the ACA will cost 1.2 million jobs nationwide.
We’re taking the momentum and messages of the Women’s Marches – see RWV-NY intern Sarah Riordan (left) – to state Capitols and Congressional District offices across the country. And, we’re having an impact. We’re even getting under the skin of archconservatives like Rep. Dave Brat (R-VA) who complained to an audience of conservative groups over the weekend that, “Since Obamacare and these issues have come up, the women are in my grill no matter where I go. They come up — ‘When is your next town hall?’ And believe me, it’s not to give positive input. … We’re getting hammered.”
What’s next?
Republicans on the Senate Finance Committee rammed through a vote to confirm another archconservative, Rep. Tom Price (R-GA), as HHS secretary. Committee rules had required that at least one Democrat be present for a vote, and every single Democrat boycotted. But the committee went ahead and voted without the Democrats. So, a full Senate vote on his nomination is next.
The RWV regional coordinator for Georgia, the Feminist Women’s Health Center in Atlanta (shown at right in the Women’s March) knows full well that  Price has dedicated his congressional career to dismantling women’s health care. There also have been reports that Price may have lied to the committee about receiving a sweetheart deal to buy stock in a company affected by legislation he then championed.
The White House has said it won’t offer an ACA replacement plan until Price is confirmed, but we already know what we can expect, and our message hasn’t changed: No ACA repeal without a replacement that provides at least the same level of coverage and care, and no cuts to or restructuring of Medicaid. Repeal without a simultaneous replacement is just repeal.
How can you tell if a proposed “repair” or “fix” to the ACA is just another attempt to fool us? Check out this great checklist from our friends at Families USA on how to evaluate any ‘replacement’ plan. And keep the heat turned up on any member of Congress who wants to take our care!


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