Republicans in the House of Representatives on Thursday voted to repeal the health care of 24 million people. The only people celebrating are the politicians who have put party above constituents, and advanced a giant tax giveaway for corporations and the super-rich.
These politicians voted to kill the people they are supposed to represent. We must never let them forget that vote. We must make them regret it every day of their lives.
There’s no overstating the cruelty they’ve perpetrated or damage they will cause.
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Trumpcare doesn’t just roll back the Affordable Care Act by cutting support for coverage, in ways that hit those who are older, poorer, and live in rural areas the hardest. It doesn’t just end the nationwide protections that bar insurance companies from jacking up premiums based on health status or denying coverage of essential care.
It also dismantles Medicaid, which now covers about 74 million people across the country. It strips more than $800 billion from the program and ends the guarantee that it will be funded according to need.
This is Trumpcare’s most radical component, and the one that will do the most to make our health care system even more unequal in terms of both money and race.
The Affordable Care Act extended Medicaid to an additional 11 million people. Trumpcare will end that and take the entire program apart, piece by piece. Millions of people who finally started getting health care will see that all taken away.
But they’re not the only ones affected. We all count on Medicaid. We count on it for long-term care for our parents. We count on it for asthma treatment for children, for diabetes care and cancer screenings, and for support that helps people with disabilities live independently. Medicaid also keeps rural hospitals afloat and is a mainstay in small communities that insurance companies avoid.
Of course, 130 million of us also stand to lose the guarantees the Affordable Care Act put in place to protect us from discrimination for pre-existing conditions. And millions more will be forced to pay more for less care, all while the ultra-wealthy and corporations get tax breaks.
We have to make politicians pay the highest price for their morally repugnant vote.
Every life that’s lost, every treatment missed, every pill skipped, every dollar of medical debt sent to a collection agency is now their moral responsibility. It is on their heads.
We, their constituents, will have to hold them accountable — starting with the congressional recess from now through May 15, and continuing to 2018 and beyond. Here’s how we do that:
● Educate ourselves about what this disastrous bill does and inoculate ourselves against the lies Republicans will tell about it.
There are some great resources about the costs of Trumpcare. The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities has this roundup of the Medicaid cuts, other costs, and tax cuts for multi-millionaires. Learn about premium surcharges for pre-existing conditions, the number of people with pre-existing conditions by congressional district, and estimates of how many will lose coverage by district. And here are estimates of cost increases by state.
● Talk to others about what’s at stake.
Let people know what Trumpcare really does. But remember to talk about the moral stakes — which are really life and death. Are we a country that believes people should be left to die because they don’t have “enough” money, suffer an illness, or weren’t born in the “right place”? Or do we believe health care is important for our hometowns and should be something that all people can count on?
● Put your member of Congress on notice that their days in office are numbered.
Let your representative know their vote is not acceptable and never will be. This bill has been deeply unpopular from the very start, and they have put party and corporate interests above the people. Make sure they know you will call your friends, educate your neighbors and canvass the streets in your hometown to remove your congressperson. There’s no room in Congress for a politician who doesn’t care whether we live or die. You will replace that politician with someone who does.
● Let your senator know that they must kill this bill before it kills us.
The House vote isn’t the end of this fight. Now the bill goes to the Senate, where we will fight with everything we’ve got. Tell your senator that your hometown depends on health care — and that, in your hometown, you, your family, and your friends and neighbors care about each other and will fight to prove it all the way to the ballot box.