Dear Access Living friends and allies,
As many of you know, countless health and disability advocates are now mobilizing to stop the Graham-Cassidy-Heller bill, the latest evolution of what is known broadly as the "Obamacare repeal and replace bill." This bill is in the US Senate, and it is running against a ticking clock. The bill currently operates under the special rules of the Senate budget reconciliation process; the key thing to know is that to pass it, Senate leaders need only 51 votes. After the clock runs out, they will need 60 votes to pass it. The Graham-Cassidy-Heller bill is a Republican-led effort, and in today's deeply partisan environment, the pressure centers on whether Republican Senators in fact have 51 votes when they attempt to bring the bill to the Senate floor for a vote, likely later next week.
On Monday afternoon, the US Senate Finance Committee will hold a public hearing on the Graham-Cassidy-Heller bill. Advocates have been calling for individuals to submit personal testimonies about why the bill will affect them, to be sent to the email address GCHcomments@finance.senate.gov . This is where groups and individuals can send letters, testimony, video links, photos, stories, etc. regarding the proposed legislation. These MUST be sent in by 12 noon Central time (1 pm Eastern time) on Monday, September 25. It is CRITICAL that as many people send their stories as possible.
You WILL be affected by Graham-Cassidy-Heller if:
...you or your loved ones rely on Medicaid to provide health care, in-home supports, employment or nursing home service. Funding for Medicaid will be reduced across the states. Those who became eligible for Medicaid under the expansion will be phased out.
...you or your loved ones have a pre-existing condition. Those with pre-existing conditions will be forced to pay even higher premiums for health care.
...you or your loved ones have health insurance through employers. The specific benefits you get may be affected by your state's decision on whether to make essential health benefits mandatory.
...you or your loved ones have health insurance through the state marketplace exchange. The marketplaces would be eliminated.
Our friends at ADAPT will be landing on site in DC this weekend for four days of direct action at a very key time in this healthcare fight. You will want to stay abreast of ADAPT's work at the National ADAPT Facebook page, as well as by following the hashtags #adapt and #adaptandresist. More broadly, disability advocates are also using the hashtag #savemedicaid. ADAPT's website is at www.adapt.org .
Disability advocates will not only be present at the Monday Senate hearing, but converging for a big rally and press conference on Tuesday morning led by disability ally and US Senator Bob Casey of Pennsylvania.
Every single Medicaid director in every state has come out against the bill, under the leadership of the National Association of Medicaid Directors (NAMD). See the story here .
Every single Senate office is under a deluge of calls and emails, but to increase your effectiveness you will want to reach out to the Senate staff who focus on healthcare. A guide to the Senate staff was put together by Indivisible at this link .
Every single one of you can help us stop this bill. Looking for resources for updates and action? Check out https://medicaid.publicrep.org/ .
YES, THIS FIGHT WILL BE PIVOTAL NEXT WEEK. Bear in mind that if the Senate passes Graham-Cassidy-Heller, it will very likely pass the House. So it must be stopped NOW.
Let's go Illinois!
Director of Advocacy, Access Living