Background information: Enrollment for 2018 in the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) reached 9 million Americans when open enrollment ended December 15. Many of those enrolled lived in states that voted for Donald Trump. This was achieved in spite of the fact that the administration shortened the enrollment period by 50%, and cut 90% of the funds for publicity and navigator assistance. The new tax law will eliminate the mandate that everyone should be insured; however, the other important health care provisions of the ACA remain intact. The ACA is still the law of the land!
This confirms the polls indicating that public support for affordable health care has grown substantially over the past year, now reaching well over 50%. This should make our legislators realize that they need to preserve and strengthen health care, instead of repealing or undermining it. It is time for Democrats and Republicans to work together to broaden coverage, strengthen the insurance marketplaces, expand Medicaid, and cut the costs of health care -- especially the rapid escalation of prescription drug prices.
Now is the time to write and call your Senators and Representatives and tell them to work on bi-partisan legislation that will begin to accomplish these goals that are so important for all Americans. As candidates campaign this year, make sure that they make clear their policies on health care. And vote accordingly!
Sample Script: I’m [your name], your constituent from [City, State]. I am one of the majority of Americans who support the many ways that the Affordable Care Act has benefited (me, personally and) many of my fellow citizens, especially our most vulnerable brothers and sisters. Congress should resist any efforts to undermine the law by cutting funding or reducing Medicaid and work to find bi-partisan measures to strengthen the insurance marketplace and improve access to good health care. Thank you for passing the message along to my Senator/Representative.
Senator Chuck Grassley (202) 224-3744
Senator Joni Ernst (202) 224-3254
Representative Dave Loebsack (202) 225-6576
Senator Tammy Duckworth (202) 224-2854
Senator Dick Durbin (202) 224-2152
Representative Cheri Bustos (202) 225-5905
Extra Credit – Ways to Do More to Protect Health Care:
- If you know anyone who may be uninsured or who may be struggling to keep their insurance in force, encourage them to go to www.healthcare.gov for advice and assistance. Open enrollment for 2018 ended December 15, but some people can qualify for a special enrollment period. Go to www.healthcare.gov to see if you qualify. And if you have a limited income, are disabled or have other special needs you can apply for Medicaid or CHIP (Children’s Health Insurance Program).
- Print out and copy the ACA enrollment flier and post it at your church, at restaurants, laundromats, bus depots, anywhere there is a public bulletin board, and had out to anyone who may be interested. A Spanish translation is also available.
- Talk with your friends/family about the benefits of the Affordable Care Act and ask them to call their Members of Congress about it.
- Come to the next meeting of the PACG Health Care Reform Forum on February 6, at 6:00 pm at St. John's Lutheran Church (4501 7th Ave, Rock Island, IL) to help plan more actions.
- Write a letter to the editor about the importance of retaining the benefits of the ACA. Include a personal story if you have one.