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THE #FIGHT4OURHEALTH CONTINUES!

CPEHN’s #Fight4OurHealth Policy Round-Up: April 10 - April 14

At a time when the Affordable Care Act (ACA) has never been more popular, the Trump Administration and House Republicans are reviving their repeal efforts. Some of the new proposals would do away with one of the ACA’s most popular and crucial provisions: guaranteed issue for individuals with pre-existing conditions – the requirement that health plans offer insurance to everyone regardless of health status. Other proposals would make it much harder for older, sicker individuals to access life-saving treatments or continue to afford desperately needed health insurance.

While the new proposals are bringing the ultra-conservative Freedom Caucus to the table, moderate Republicans are balking. With little to show for the renewed efforts, House GOP leaders introduced an amendment on Thursday to the American Health Care Act (AHCA) to create "invisible high-risk pools" to help cover people with pre-existing conditions. The $15 billion set aside by the new amendment doesn’t come close to covering the costs to states and insurers of caring for these patients. As a result, patients will be forced to pay much higher rates for health care coverage or simply opt to go without it. California’s high-risk pools pre-ACA were a disaster with high monthly premiums and long waiting lists. Some patients died while waiting to obtain coverage.

In California news, despite the immense unpopularity of the AHCA, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Bakersfield) says that he doesn’t think the AHCA will have to change much to pass, and he likes the work requirement for people on Medicaid. “We are going to put an option for the state to have a work requirement. Just think when we did welfare reform,” McCarthy said. The time-line is up in the air, but with a two-week recess underway, it’s unlikely the bill will be up for a vote before May, but McCarthy warns members could be called back to D.C. for a vote on the bill if an agreement is reached. If the Republicans can’t figure out a way to work together, the President says he will turn to the Democrats to replace the ACA.

We can’t stand by and watch our health care rights be stripped from our communities. It’s extremely important during this spring recess that our voices are heard through phone calls, visits and town hall meetings. Click here for a list of California Republicans and their past position on the AHCA. Even if you are in a deeply blue district, you can also help by calling your Congress people to thank them for supporting health care or phone banking in other districts. Visit CPEHN’s ACA Defense Hub for ideas on how to get involved, or scroll to the end of this newsletter for a list of town hall meetings and other events.

Coming Up:
  • April 10-22: Federal Representatives are home in their districts for Spring Recess.
  • April: We will continue to watch for signs that the ACA is under attack or failing due to administrative actions. Additionally, federal budget cuts and tax reform could affect our health. Planned Parenthood, opioid addiction, mental health and funding for research through the National Institutes of Health (NIH) are all at risk. We will keep you updated.
  • May: The Republican lawsuit to eliminate cost-sharing subsidies – federal payments to insurers to help individuals pay for doctor’s visits, labs and medications (amongst other expenses) – could come to trial. Without access to subsidies, many won’t be able to afford to pay for their care. Republicans currently plan to continue the lawsuit, stoking uncertainty about whether the government will continue to pay for subsidies for 2017 and beyond.
Upcoming Activities:
  • April 10-22— Attend a Congressional visit. Visit CPEHN’s ACA Defense Hub for more information.
  • April 15 National Tax Day—Protesters Pressure Trump to Release Taxes
  • April 17 6:00PM—Town Hall with Congressman Denham, Larsa Banquet Hall, 2107 E. Monte Vista Ave. Attendees should arrive prepared to show proof of District 10 residency at the door, and non-residents will be admitted if space allows. For questions, contact Denham’s Modesto office at (209) 579-5458 or his Washington, D.C. office at (202) 225-4540
  • April 17 5:30PM—Town Hall with Congressman LaMalfa, Oroville State Theater 1489 Meyers Street, Oroville, CA 95965
  • April 19, 5:30PM— Town Hall with Congressman LaMalfa, McLaughlin Auditorium at Sequoia Middle School 1805 Sequoia Street, Redding
  • April 19: 6-8PM—Congressman Nunes Town Hall Event (which he has been invited to and has declined invitation), Sponsored by Yes We Will, College of the Sequoias. 915 S. Mooney Blvd, Visalia, CA 93277
Other Events and Actions:
Questions? Please contact Cary Sanders, Director of Policy Analysis, at csanders@cpehn.org or (510) 832-1160.

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