Join Us in Saying “YES” to Coverage and to Health
“NO” to the House AHCA Legislation

Blog post Cathy Senderling-McDonald

Seven years ago, today, the Affordable Care Act was signed into law, marking the start of dramatic improvements in health care delivery and access for millions of Americans. For decades, our county eligibility staff had to tell people “No,” they weren’t eligible for coverage because they had no children, no disability, income that was a little bit too high. In California, the new law let our county staff tell nearly everyone, “Yes! You qualify for health care.” The ACA opened doors to coverage for millions, including the state’s highly successful Medicaid program expansion, which now covers 3.7 million adults, as well as the additional 1.5 million covered through Covered California, our state exchange.

Today, as House Republicans seek to vote on their American Health Care Act, continuing their push to repeal major and popular provisions of the Affordable Care Act and decimate the Medicaid program, our message to California’s congressional delegation is simple: Providing affordable health care is working in California and across the nation. Vote “No” on this bill.

Embracing the Affordable Care Act has meant millions of people – who used to put off doctor’s visits and preventive care for chronic illnesses – are less likely to show up, sicker, in emergency rooms. It’s meant that people who could not work because of health issues are able to get care and move into the workforce again. It’s meant that people with preexisting conditions can get affordable care and no longer face financial ruin. It’s guaranteed foster youth health care coverage up to age 26 through Medicaid, just as young people can stay on their parents’ health plans up to 26. It’s ensured that children with special needs have their intensive services covered. This has all been possible thanks to wise and strategic investments of federal, state and county dollars under the Affordable Care Act.

We said “Yes” seven years ago, and we say “Yes” today to maintaining the Affordable Care Act and Medicaid program.

  • YES, to the state’s uninsured rate dropping to 7.1 percent – a record low for California and dropping the uninsured rate by more than half since 2013.
  • YES, to expanding Medicaid and ensuring 3.7 million more Californians have health care.
  • YES, to ensuring that 14 million Californians continue to have health care coverage through the Medicaid program (known as Medi-Cal here).
  • YES, to maintaining Medicaid as a cost-effective federal-state-county partnership where each partner pays its share of the costs for any and all eligible individuals who enroll.

Our safety net for health care coverage – in California and nationwide – is at risk of being destroyed today. House Republicans falsely claim the American Health Care Act will give people choice in their health care. As any person receiving coverage through Medicaid will tell you, choosing between paying for health care or paying your rent and putting food on the table is no choice at all: It’s economic oppression.

We need to make it clear to House Republicans that the American Health Care Act is not the answer and will hurt everyone – low-income children, families, individuals, seniors, providers, hospitals, counties, and taxpayers. We will all pay the price if this bill passes.

We ask you to join us in saying “No” to the American Health Care Act:

  • NO, to abandoning the government’s fundamental responsibility to provide a basic level of health care to all Americans.
  • NO, to paying an ever-increasing amount for our health insurance – whether you are covered by a government program, shop on the private market or receive insurance through your employer, you’ll pay more as costs are passed on in the form of higher premiums, greater cost-sharing and reduced benefits for everyone.
  • NO, to abandoning the partnership that has each layer of government pay its share. The taxpayer burden and cost shift to California is estimated at $6 billion by 2020 and $24.3 billion by 2027. The public services that Californians rely on are all put at risk by this cost shift.

What can you do?

  • Voice your concerns and call the Capitol switchboard TODAY at 1.866.426.2631 to be connected to your representative: Please oppose the AHCA. No one should lose health coverage or experience an increase in costs or reduction in coverage due to changes Congress or the Trump Administration enacts to the ACA and Medicaid program. Don’t make everyone pay more as a result of this misguided legislation.
  • Voice your concerns on social media and ask community partners, family and friends to join you. Use #Fight4OurHealth and #ProtectOurCare. Sample Tweets follow.
    • On #ACA anniversary we say YES to health care for 14M, YES to uninsured rate of just 7.1, YES to improving well-being 4 ALL #ProtectOurCare
    • #AHCA is bad deal for all – patients, providers, taxpayers. House GOP shifting feds’ health bill to us $$$ #ProtectOurCare #Fight4OurHealth
    • 1 in 3 Californians rely on Medi-Cal. ALL Californians relying on House to not leave us w/worse care and higher costs #ProtectOurCare
    • Don’t be fooled: we ALL pay under #AHCA. Taxpayer burden & cost shift to CA = $6B by 2020; $24.3B by 2027 #ProtectOurCare #Fight4OurHealth

- Cathy Senderling-McDonald

Cathy is the Deputy Executive Director of CWDA.

Follow her at @csend. Follow CWDA at @CWDA_CA.