Sunday, 24 September 2017

The Never-Ending Healthcare Debacle

If you’ve paid attention to political news, you know that Republicans have six days to pass something, *anything* that repeals the ACA under budget reconciliation. The current bill is Graham-Cassidy, which sort of pretends to be a healthcare bill for the next 10 years. It initially cuts funding by a 16%, giving the remainder to states in block grants.  So there’s no pre-existing coverage, no essential requirements that insurance must cover, no *anything* unless states feel like doing so. Even if they want to do everything the ACA did, with less money, they can’t.

Oh, and it “defunds Planned Parenthood.” Because there is no line-item funding for Planned Parenthood, that really means, “prevents people on Medicaid from accessing care (that isn’t abortion, because Federal funds don’t go to abortion) at providers Republicans don’t like, regardless of whether they’re the only provider the patient can afford, or the only provider in the county.”

Unfortunately, none of this actually matters to most Republicans, or to President Trump, for whom pissing on our only Black President’s legacy is all the motivation or justification they need.  Oh, and tax cuts for the rich.

There are, however, a few Republicans opposed. McCain (Arizona) said he would vote against it, and Susan Collins (Maine) said she’s very unlikely to support it, but is waiting for the CBO.  If these are your Senators, call or email them. For John McCain, thank him for opposing it and encourage him not to vote for it.  For Susan Collins, thank her for waiting for the CBO score (because really, why would you vote for a bill before you know what it does?), and encourage her to vote against it.  Especially after Monday when you have specifics in the CBO score to point to.  (Yes, I’m assuming it will be bad because I’ve read up on the bill.  You can’t slash the available budget and the rules that make sure sick people can get insurance and expect puppies and unicorns.)

Lisa Murkowski (Alaska) hasn’t actually said how she’ll vote, so it’s important for Alaskans to call her and ask her to vote against it.  Alaska is one of the states that gets seriously screwed over by this bill, so she’s likely to be against it, but nothing is certain.

If you want to go beyond just calling and emailing (though you should do those too!), Indivisible has a guide for direct action, including sit-ins or die-ins at your Member of Congress’s office. Indivisible has a search for #KillTheBill events near you, so you can coordinate with others.  Tomorrow is the big day of protest for this bill.

So, what can you do if your senators already oppose this cluster? That’s the boat I’m in. My Senators are firmly against Graham-Cassidy, so instead of calling them, I’ve mostly been retweeting them.

You can also support people protesting in other states. It may or may not be helpful to actually show up at those protests. On the plus side, you’re another body, but on the negative, showing up with out-of-state plates gives ammo to the “fake, paid protester” lie. And, really, if you’re not one of a Senator’s constituents, they should be listening to the people they represent rather than you.  That’s not to say don’t go, but take a supporting role for those who live in that state, and be mindful of how you’re perceived. And probably don’t park in front of the Senator’s office with out-of-state plates.

You can also support those protests without going in person.  Kick in money for gas/tolls/public transit.  Provide food and bottled water.  For flashier protests, like die-ins, you can contribute props. Again, there’s the Indivisible  search to find rallies or protests near you.

Another neat tool Indivisible has is Calls to Kill Trumpcare. You call people in targeted red states and ask *them* to call their senators. The tool even lets you put them through to their Senators right then & there.

If this post inspires you to take any action—big or small—against the latest incarnation of Trumpcare, I’d love to hear how it went in the comments.




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