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Learn more about Special Enrollment Periods at or call 1-800-318-2596.


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« It’s not over yet. Keep the pressure on! | Main | Don’t be fooled! The new “improved” Senate bill is worse! »

Support the 3 GOP women standing against ACA repeal! 

Senate Republican Majority Leader Mitch McConnell wants a vote early next week to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA)—with no replacement plan! This is the same repeal-only bill the Republican-led Congress sent to President Obama in 2015 (and which he vetoed). Standing in McConnell’s way are three Republican women—Senators Susan Collins (R-ME), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), and Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), pictured on the right, who have announced that they won’t support the “motion to proceed” to start the debate. These three were excluded from the men-only health care working group assembled by GOP leadership to craft the Senate’s Trumpcare bill. We like what Capito had to say: “I did not come to Washington to hurt people.” 

 But that doesn’t mean we can let up! We can’t assume that either Trumpcare or ACA repeal-without-replace are dead. We know that McConnell  will use this week to twist arms, and far-right interest groups funded by the Koch brothers are already trying to gin up calls in favor of the repeal bill.

We need to support the three women and get more Republican senators to join them in putting a full stop to their reckless campaign to undo the ACA.  Raising Women’s Voices and our allies in the Protect Our Care coalition are working hard to get the word out. Here’s some of what will be happening this week: Planned Parenthood patients and supporters will be holding a rally today from 5 to 7 pm in the Upper Senate Park in Washington, D.C.  Event details here. On Thursday, the Feminist Majority will sponsor an Interns Storm the Hill event to protect access to health care from current attacks.  The National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health, along with RWV regional coordinators COLOR and California Latinas for Reproductive Health, are sponsoring a twitter chat today at 2 p.m. Eastern, with the hashtag #Latinxcare. 

Or, pick up the phone and call the Senate at 202-224-3121 or toll free at 866-426-2631 and tell your senators to vote NO on the “motion to proceed” and vote NO on any package to roll back the gains we’ve made through the ACA.

How did we get here?

Last week, McConnell unveiled an updated version of Trumpcare that included the controversial Cruz amendment to allow insurance companies to sell skimpy “junk insurance” policies to younger, healthier people and segregate everyone else into de facto high risk pools. Promoting the Cruz amendment on the Sunday morning talk shows, Trump’s HHS Secretary Tom Price admitted that under the Republican plan, “all [insurance companies] have to do is dust off how they did business before Obamacare.” That would take us back to when insurers were free to discriminate against people with pre-existing conditions and drop coverage the moment a healthy person became sick! 

Meanwhile, a leading business group whose members include Boeing, Chevron, and the Walt Disney Company warned that the Senate Trumpcare bill’s deep cuts to low-income health coverage would drive up premiums for the 177 million people who get coverage through their employer. Under Trumpcare, hospitals would shift more costs onto insured patients, the overall workforce would be sicker, and there would be no requirement that insurance companies spend at least 85% of their premiums on providing care instead of padding their profits—all of which would increase costs for employers and workers!

Republican leaders had intended to vote on their package this week—with or without an updated CBO score on the bill with the Cruz amendment. But on Friday, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) underwent surgery to remove a blood clot behind his eye, forcing McConnell to delay the vote until his return. By Monday, four Republican senators had publicly announced that they would vote against the “motion to proceed” to start debate on Trumpcare—though of the four, only Collins objected because of the bill’s deep coverage cuts.

Because McConnell can only afford to lose two Republicans, he announced that the Trumpcare package was dead and that in its place, the Senate would vote on the repeal-only bill that Republicans sent to President Obama in 2015. When CBO scored that bill (repeal only) at the request of Senate Democrats this year, they concluded that 32 million people would lose insurance. (In contrast to the 22 million people predicted to lose coverage under the Senate's proposed Trumpcare bill and the 23 million under the House-passed Trumpcare bill.)

In fact, those deep coverage losses are a big part of the reason why Republicans were forced to scrap their plan to pass a repeal-only bill in February and move to crafting a simultaneous repeal-and-replace package (aka Trumpcare).

Under the narrow rules that govern use of the Senate’s “reconciliation” process (which would allow McConnell to pass his bill with just 51 votes), the Senate can't simply take up the 2015 bill on its own. It has to first take up the House-passed Trumpcare bill. Hence McConnell’s carefully-worded statement that "the Senate will vote to take up the House bill with the first amendment in order being” the 2015 bill.

Left unsaid publicly is that once floor debate begins on the bill, there is no limit to what else could be voted on, including the Trumpcare package. In fact, that’s exactly the argument that McConnell is quietly making to his members.

Thus while there’s reason to believe that McConnell doesn’t have the votes for a repeal-only amendment, if he succeeds in starting floor debate, the Trumpcare zombie bill may well rise again.

Meanwhile, a bipartisan group of governors-turned-senators led by Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) has been quietly working on a much smaller package to shore up ACA insurance markets that have been made shaky by Republican sabotage. The group is reportedly discussing how to fund the cost-sharing reduction payments that the Trump Administration has threated to stop making and a handful of other, small fixes to increase the number of insurers offering coverage in rural areas.

We support these steps with the following caveats:

  1. The plan must not lead to coverage losses. Democrats should make clear that changing     Medicaid’s guarantee of coverage through caps or cuts is off the table.
  2. The plan must not be a tax-giveaway to the wealthy.
  3. Finally, the legislation should go through “regular order,” the normal process of hearings and committee amendments that gives Congress a chance to hear from a range of experts and gives the public time to weigh in.

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