Action Group Focus: Healthcare — A Right at Risk

Although the efforts to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA) “failed,” it continues to be under daily assault by the Trump administration and the Department of Health and Human Services. The Trump administration has resorted to chipping away at the foundations of the ACA to push it toward its demise – eliminating the individual mandate, allowing health association plans, eliminating or “pausing” important taxes that fund ACA subsidies for low-income Americans, and eliminating the cost-sharing provisions in the individual health marketplace. Moreover, the Trump Administration continues its assault on Medicaid and is encouraging states to apply for waivers that mandate work requirements for “able-bodied” adults within the Medicaid population. The good news is that, thanks to hard work by groups like ILNH and many others in promoting ACA enrollment, the efforts by this administration to thwart Americans from signing up for health insurance on the individual marketplace did not work, and many people signed up for coverage – in fact, the numbers are very close to last year!

Read more about the chipping away at the ACA, people to follow and resources at the link here and come to the Feb. 11 Community Gathering/General Meeting at DIG Yoga, (address) at 3pm.

Call to Action: What Can You Do?
  1. Write letters to Congressmen Lance and Fitzpatrick demanding leadership to stabilize the ACA and protect women’s health!
  2. Write state action letters to both New Jersey and Pennsylvania governors, asking them to take actions to stabilize the healthcare market at the state level – establishing an individual mandate within the state and strong regulations to protect the most vulnerable within our communities.

Additionally, the Trump administration and the GOP have attempted to force the collapse of the ACA and erode women’s health initiatives even further through the following mechanisms:
  • Eliminating the funding for cost-sharing reductions available to low-income Americans who purchased their health insurance on the exchanges;
  • Passing a tax bill that repealed the individual mandate, which destabilizes the risk pool within the exchanges by allowing (even encouraging) young/healthy people to opt out of purchasing health insurance;
  • Attacking Medicaid, Medicare and other social safety net programs, stating that the United States can not “afford” these programs – after passing a tax bill that adds $1.5 trillion in national debt, all just to award the wealthy and corporations a big tax cut;
  • Allowing health association plans, purchasing health insurance across state lines, and extension of short-term coverage plans – all aimed at destabilizing the individual health insurance marketplace;
  • Delaying and/or discouraging bipartisan efforts (e.g., the Alexander-Murray Bill) to improve the ACA;
  • Delaying the reauthorization of the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) and not reauthorizing community health centers;
  • Continuing efforts to defund Planned Parenthood; allowing the removal of birth control coverage in health insurance plans based on “religious/moral” grounds; signing an executive order that allows health professionals to deny health services on the basis of “religious freedom;” and allowing gender bias in health Association Plans
Healthcare Facts

  1. What is Medicaid and whom does it cover?
    • Medicaid is the nation’s public health insurance program for low-income people, families and children, pregnant women, the elderly, and people with disabilities, and covers one in five Americans (many with complex and costly needs for medical care and long-term services).
    • Income threshold and other factors that determine Medicaid eligibility vary by state, but low-income eligibility is pegged to the federal poverty level, which is calculated for one person at $12,060 and for a family of four at $24,600. Under the ACA, states have the ability to increase these thresholds to $16,394/$33,534.
    • Approximately 81 million Americans receive Medicaid. Most (67 percent) of the recipients are poor children, elderly, and the disabled. Two-thirds of the adults who receive Medicaid are full-time workers and an additional 13 percent work part-time.
    • 60 percent of Medicaid expenditures cover the disabled and elderly populations – mostly in nursing homes.
  2. How many Planned Parenthood and community health facilities are in our districts?
    • In Leonard Lance’s district, NJCD 7: In Hunterdon County there is one Planned Parenthood office and there are NO community health centers. The Planned Parenthood facility is the only facility in the entire county where low-income residents have access to primary care services. No federal dollars are spent on abortions.
Resources:
Follow these Twitter accounts: Sarah Kliff (@sarahkliff); Andy Slavitt (@andyslavitt); Loren Adler (@lorenadler); Stephanie Armour (@stepharmour1); Charles Gaba (@Charles_Gaba); Larry Levitt (@Larry_Levitt); Alex Ruoff (@AlexRuoff); Topher Spiro (@topherspiro); Louise Norris (@LouiseNorris)

Podcasts: Kaiser Health News’ What the Health; Vox’s The Weeds

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