Lamar Alexander Condemns the Bridge that 30 Million Americans Crossed to Health Coverage

 

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At a rally, outside U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander’s Knoxville office, cancer patients and cancer survivors were asking a question. They wanted to know what the 40% of Americans who have or who will have cancer are supposed to do when the Republicans finish their hasty repeal of the Affordable Care Act. Some in the crowd remembered the days before the ACA when health insurance companies routinely denied coverage for preexisting conditions.

Alexander said Wednesday during the Senate health committee’s nomination hearing for Tom Price to lead the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. . .“If your local bridge were ‘very near collapse,’ the first thing you would do is send in a rescue crew to repair it temporarily so no one else is hurt,” Alexander said. “Then you would build a better bridge, or more accurately, many bridges, to replace the old bridge. Finally, when the new bridges are finished you would close the old bridge.

The Affordable Care Act is no better than a dilapidated bridge to Senator Alexander. Never mind that to some of those gathered in front of his Knoxville office, it has been the difference between life and death. For others, the difference between receiving care and facing financial ruin. While Alexander and his Republican colleagues have already condemned the bridge to destruction, Tennesseans and Americans wonder if a repair project might be a more helpful, prudent and fiscally responsible course of action.

If Senator Alexander had chosen to study civil engineering at the University of Tennessee rather than Latin American History at Vanderbilt, he might have a greater appreciation for the possibilities that bridges present for repair. The people of Knoxville  could give personal testimony to the potential for repair presented by bridges. In the last two decades, two major bridges serving downtown Knoxville, the Henley Street and the Gay Street, have undergone sizeable repair projects that resulted in both being in better than new condition.

Incidentally, it is not unusual for bridges to continue to serve their purpose while being repaired and refurbished. Certainly, things slow down a little bit, but folks are still able to get to where they need to be.  The Knoxville News-Sentinel article stated that health insurance premiums are unaffordable for about 15% of Tennesseans. What about the 85% who are being helped? What will happen to them when Senator Alexander and his Republican colleagues finish with their demolition job? The Congressional Budget Office projects somewhere upwards of 18 million Americans will be without health insurance and premiums will be nearly unbearable for those who are able find a policy.  What about those people with preexisting conditions who will not be able to buy health insurance no matter what it costs?

Few people would argue against making improvements or “repairs” to our health insurance system, but tearing the whole thing down and then waiting for Washington to rebuild it does not seem like the best course of action for the American people.

  • What about how the Affordable Care Act extends Medicare’s solvency until 2028?
  • What about the young adult being able to stay on his or her parent’s policy?
  • What about being able purchase insurance without fear of being denied because of a preexisting condition?
  • What about the preventive screenings that the Affordable Care Act provides to Medicare participants?
  • What about the closing of the Medicare Part D “donut hole” that the Affordable Care Act will completely close by 2020?
  • What about the 30 million Americans who now have health insurance coverage because of the Affordable Care Act?

With all the good that the Affordable Care Act has done for so many Americans, why tear the whole thing down? Why not repair it?

When the Republicans build it back, will still do all the good things it does now? Listening to Speaker of the House, Paul Ryan, or new Secretary of Health and Human Services nominee, Tom Price, one could rightfully conclude that the new bridge will be much more profitable for the health care industry and less accommodating to those seeking to utilize it.

 

 

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Repealing the ACA is Clearly about Tax Cuts For the Wealthiest Americans

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When you read stories like this one from a family in Paul Ryan’s home district, you have to ask yourself why are the Republicans so eager to repeal the Affordable Care Act. As this story illustrates, the ACA has made it possible for this family to start a new business while not having to worry about health coverage. Why would Republicans want to take those kind of opportunities for innovative, industrious Americans? A Cynic might suggest that their eagerness to repeal the ACA is based on their dislike for President Obama. Their disdain for him being so great that they cannot bear for something that was so central to his presidency continuing to serve the American people after his departure from  office.

But their has to be more to it than that. Republicans would not punish American families just to spite President Obama, would they? Not likely. So what is the real reason Republicans are so determined to repeal the ACA. It is the tax cuts. Tax cuts to wealthy Americans is the reason that Republicans are willing to sacrifice health and welfare of hard-working Americans like this family that lives in Speaker Ryan’s district.

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Price Leaves the Door Open for Medicare Cuts #PriceIsWrong

tom_priceToday U.S. Rep. Tom Price (R – Ga.) faced a hearing before the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee to determine his qualification to become Secretary of Health and Human Services. Next week, on January 24th, he will face an additional hearing before the Senate Finance Committee, which will vote on his nomination.…

via HHS Nominee Price Faced Senate HELP Committee Today – Unanswered Questions Remain — CMA

Things Donald Trump does not Know: Medicare Gets Touched by Repeal of the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare)

During the campaign, Donald Trump promised not to touch Medicare and Social Security. Since the election he and his surrogates have reiterated this position.

During the campaign, Donald Trump promised not to repeal the Affordable Care Act. Since the election he and his surrogates have reiterated this position.

Holding to both of these promise is not possible. The Affordable Care Act strengthened Medicare in a number of ways. Repealing the Affordable Care Act will touch Medicare.

Yet, in interview after interview, Donald Trump or one of his surrogates is allowed to restate both of these promises as if it is possible to keep them both. The American people desperately need for someone in the media to ask Donald Trump some “How” questions.

  • How are you going to repeal the Affordable Care Act and not touch Medicare when the Affordable Care Act extends the solvency of the Medicare Part A Hospital Trust Fund by 14 years, from 2016 to 2030?
  • How are you going to repeal the Affordable Care Act and not touch Medicare when the Affordable Care Act caused Part B premiums and deductibles to stabilize or decrease from 2012 to 2015?
  • How are you going to repeal the Affordable Care Act and not touch Medicare when the Affordable Care Act provides Medicare participants with an annual wellness visit to the Doctor at no cost?
  • How are you going to repeal the Affordable Care Act and not touch Medicare when the Affordable Care Act provides Medicare participants with annual preventative screenings at no cost?
  • How are you going to repeal the Affordable Care Act and not touch Medicare when the Affordable Care Act has the Medicare Part D “Donut Hole” on pace to be closed by 2020?

Someone needs to tell Donald Trump that repealing the Affordable Care Act will touch Medicare. If, for some reason he will not listen or will not comprehend that reality, someone needs to let the American people know that it is impossible for him to keep both of his promises.

(The above questions were based on a post from the National Committee to Protect Social Security and Medicare).

Somebody Tell Donald Trump that Repealing ACA is “Touching Medicare” #ProtectOurCare #HandsOffMedicare #OurFirstStand

Donald Trump promised during the campaign not to touch Medicare. Reince Priebus repeated that position today.

While Republicans move forward with efforts to repeal and replace Obamacare, President-elect Donald Trump has no plans to cut Medicare or Social Security, incoming White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus said today on “This Week.”

““That’s his position and that’s the position that he’s going to be taking. There are no plans in President-elect Trump’s policies moving forward to touch Medicare and Social Security,” Priebus told ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos.

The problem is that he also said Donald Trump wants to repeal the Affordable Care Act.  Do Mr. Priebus and Mr. Trump know that the ACA extended Medicare’s solvency to 2028? Do they know that the ACA will close the Medicare “Donut Hole” in 2020? Do they know that ACA provides preventative screenings to Medicare participants? Obviously, they do not or they would not be so eager to repeal the ACA. If they really care about Medicare they would not want to repeal ACA because repealing ACA touches Medicare and it touches it in a bad way.

We need to let @Reince  and @realDonaldTrump know that ACA cannot be repealed without touching Medicare. More importantly we need to let them know that we know ACA cannot be repealed without touching Medicare.

 

ACA Repeal Creates ‘Lose, Lose, Lose’ Situation 19h ago #ProtectOurCare #OurFirstStand #HandsOffMedicare

Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown said in his weekly conference call with reporters that if Republicans repeal the Affordable Care Act without replacing it, it would set up a “lose, lose, lose” situation, according to conversations he’s had with many hospital administrators, especially smaller rural hospitals. Since hospitals are typically among the largest employers in any…

via Brown Says ACA Repeal Creates ‘Lose, Lose, Lose’ Situation — Plunderbund

Get Ready! #MedicareMonday comes on Tuesday This Week

 

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“The arc of the moral universe is long, but bends toward justice.” Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

However you may choose to observe the holiday dedicated to the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., we hope that your observing it will renew in you a passion and dedication to speaking up for those who need your voice. Families, seniors, the disabled, women, children and the poor among us will all suffer if the Republican Congress fails to offer a meaningful replacement for the Affordable Care Act. They need you and our country needs for you to be ready to call on Tuesday, January 17,2017. Call, Write and communicate in every way possible to Congress that we will not go back to health insurance the way it was before the ACA. The only acceptable replacement is a better replacement! To be clear, better does not mean better for the minute handful of Americans that will benefit from the repeal of ACA.

  • Better means better for the millions of working class Americans who need quality health care at an affordable price.
  • Better means better for the millions of retired Americans who worked all their lives expecting the dignity and security that Medicare has always provided.
  • Better means better for young families who do not deserve to have pregnancy treated as a preexisting condition.
  • Better means better for children born into families that are struggling to make ends meet.
  • Better means better for women who should not be penalized financially when they purchase health insurance.

Here are some ideas for when you call on Tuesday:

  1. 90% of Americans have health insurance coverage under ACA. Tell your Congress member you expect the new plan to cover at least that many, preferably more.
  2. Preexisting conditions cannot keep someone from being covered under ACA. Tell your Congress member you expect preexisting conditions to be covered under the new plan.
  3. Adult children can stay on their parents plan until age 26 under ACA. Tell your member of Congress you want young adults to be able to stay on their parent’s coverage under the new plan.
  4. Under ACA, many low-income Americans were given assistance to purchase health insurance. Tell your member of Congress you want the new plan to cover low-income Americans.
  5. Under ACA, Medicare was solvent until 2028. Tell your member of Congress that you expect Medicare to be solvent at least until 2028, preferably longer, under the new plan.
  6. Tell your member of Congress you expect Medicare to remain a defined benefit plan. No vouchers, no premium supports, no privatization.
  7. Under ACA, the Medicare “Donut Hole” is on schedule to close in 2020. Tell your member of congress you expect the new plan to close the “Donut Hole.”

There are certainly other issues that could be raised during call. This list is not meant to limit you, but to help you as you advocate for health care in America. Feel free to add your suggesting for other talking points in the comments. This list will be updated as the debate continues.