Just when you thought your health care might be safe, another threat looms on the horizon. Senators Bill Cassidy and Lindsay Graham have introduced a health care bill to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA), more popularly known as Obamacare. They have until September 30 to get this bill voted in with a simple majority (51 votes) under the filibuster-free budget reconciliation process.
For people who favor limited government and states’ rights, the Graham-Cassidy bill might seem like a step in the right direction. Under this bill, the federal government would give states block funding grants to spend on healthcare as they wish. The bill also waives individual mandates and reduces coverage requirements. However, the bill also allows states to waive coverage for pre-existing conditions. In addition, states that expanded their Medicaid coverage (such as California) under the ACA would actually lose funding.
The Congressional Budget Office has yet to release a CBO score for the Graham-Cassidy bill. However, the Center for American Progress estimates that health insurance costs could skyrocket for individuals with pre-existing conditions. A forty year-old with diabetes could see his healthcare costs increase by $5600 per year!
This is unacceptable. Everyone deserves access to decent, affordable health care. We stand with JDRF, American Diabetes Association, American Medical Association, AARP, Children’s Hospital Association, American Cancer Society, and many other organizations in opposing the Graham-Cassidy bill.
How you can help
Contact your US senators
Write a letter to your senators (find their contact information here). Make it personal — tell your own story of how health care affects you! Use the JDRF website to send a pre-scripted message to your congressional representatives. You will be required to enter your name, email, phone number, and address. JDRF will send your message to based on the address that you entered.
Note: California’s senators, Dianne Feinstein and Kamala Harris oppose the Graham-Cassidy bill. However, everyone in California should still contact them and thank them for their stance and to ask them to persuade their colleagues in the Senate.
Call the Senate Finance Committee
The Senate Finance Committee is taking comments on the Graham-Cassidy bill. Call them at (202) 224-4515 to express your displeasure at this bill. Here is a script that you can use:
Hello, I am calling to tell you that I am opposed to the Graham-Cassidy bill. My name is ______ and I am a resident of the state of _____
Spread the word on social media
Senator John McCain may have announced his intention to vote NO on the Graham-Cassidy bill, but the bill needs 3 NO votes from Republicans to avoid passage. So far, only two Republican senators, Senator McCain and Senator Rand Paul, have said they will vote NO. Therefore, the ACA is still in jeopardy. We still need to spread the word and let people know they have to speak up and make themselves heard before September 30.
In particular, let residents of Maine and Alaska know about the issue. Senator Susan Collins of Maine and Senator Lisa Murkowski of Alaska both voted against the previous effort to repeal the ACA. Currently, their position on the Graham-Cassidy bill is unknown. We need to encourage their constituents to express their opposition to this bill. Here is a tweet you can copy on Facebook or retweet:
— Carb DM (@Carb_DM) September 22, 2017