I don’t know about you, but, I am afraid, very afraid for the most vulnerable citizens in the United States. The Sentate voted today, Tuesday July 25, 2017, to move forward the preceedure regarding the “Affordable Health Act”. I say that bill is full of balony, in my opinon as a former RN, written by people who have no idea what the needs are of our most vulnerable citizens: the disabled and the elderly.
I feel like the NEWS is not getting adequate updates to the public who should care. I have been following updates via email from Julie Reiskin from Denver, Colorado. I know that many other people have an opinon as well. And, I not sure all opinions are factual based. Even though I spent many years involved with caring for children with developemntal disabilites; some aging citianes and now care for my once athletic adult son who is detereiortaing with MS, I am not expert. I don’t know what the answer is for healthcare for all Americans. Most of us have absolutely no clue of how this bill if passed the way it is will affect any of of in the future. That is exactly why emotional opinions must be set aside. We must stay informed.
This letter focues on how Colroado residents will be affected. For those who live in the other 50 states, please contact your US Senators.
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To our great disappointment, the Senate voted today in favor of a motion to proceed. This means they will begin debating and voting on repealing the Affordable Care Act. Some are saying repeal and replace but we have not seen any proposal that actually replaces anything -only proposals that take health care away from people. I am very sad to say that Colorado Senator Cory Gardner chose not to listen to Colorado voters, not to fulfill his campaign promise to value life and to support people with disabilities and voted yes. While it could be said that he was voting only to discuss bills, the bills under discussion will all have horrible ramifications for people with disabilities and many others. Not only will this hurt people with disabilities but these proposals could destroy the Colorado economy causing us to lose billions in federal dollars-dollars that currently go into our economy. Rural areas will be hit hardest.
That they made this cruel decision on the eve of our Independence Day-the 27th Anniversary of the American’s with Disabilities Act-is a slap in our face that should infuriate all of us.
What happens now is that the Senate begins bringing up different bills, and voting and suggesting amendments. This is called Voterama and will be a very stressful free for all. The first vote will be a straight up repeal of the Affordable Care Act. This is unlikely to pass. Some of the people that voted for the motion to proceed have said they will not support a repeal. The problem the Republicans have is that if they appease the far right and fully repeal the law and drastically cut Medicaid the more reasonable moderates will not vote yes. If they appease the moderates and fail to destroy Medicaid or allow too many protections in the private market, then the conservatives will not vote for it.
To make it a little more complicated the parliamentarian, who is the person that decides what can fit under a budget reconciliation process (remember that is how they can pass things with only 50 votes and if it is policy and not budget they have to pass the bill through the regular process that requires 60 votes) has determined that several aspects of the Better Care Reconciliation Act (BCRA) do not fit under reconciliation. This includes cutting funding for Planned Parenthood and telling people if they go without insurance they are locked out for 6 months. The Senate leader can choose to ignore her and violate years of Senate protocol.
Several Senators that did vote to proceed did say clearly they would NOT vote for the bill that exists today including Senator McCain. On the other side Senator Moran said he would not settle for anything less than a full repeal. Experts think the only option that has any chance of passing is what they are calling “skinny repeal”. This will eliminate some taxes and the mandates for individuals to have insurance and employers that have more than 50 workers to provide insurance. We do not know what this does to the exchanges.
The pace is going to pick up if you can believe it. I will provide an update once or twice a day to avoid making everyone crazy.
So what can you do? I have five things you can do:
First, join others SATURDAY at a rally -in Denver and around the country people are getting together to express our outrage and air our demands that our care is protected. For details see Our Lives on the Line Rally -in Denver it will be at 10 am at City Park-
Second: We also need to get more letters to the editor of EVERY single paper
Third, Some of you are rightfully asking how many times can I call or write Senator Gardner? The answer is as many as you need to: We need to continue to put pressure on and have his phones and email blowing up. . Those of you with social media reach that goes beyond the disability community, please use your feeds to ask friends and family to call their Senators. If you get a chance call Senator Bennet and tell him thank you for listening to Colorado voters and putting us first.
Fourth: We also encourage people to continue to show up at Gardner’s offices to tell staff your story and why Your Medicaid Matters!!!
1125 17th Street, Suite 525
Denver, CO 80202
102 S. Tejon Street, Suite 930
Colorado Springs, CO 80903
801 8th Street, Suite 140A
Greeley, CO 80631
400 Rood Avenue, Federal Bldg., Suite 220
Grand Junction, CO 81501
503 N. Main Street, Suite 426
Pueblo, CO 81003
2001 S. Shields Street, Building H
Fort Collins, CO 80526
529 North Albany Street, Suite 1220
Yuma, CO 80759
329 S. Camino Del Rio, Suite I
Durango, CO 81303
Fifth: Don’t give up, this vote is discouraging but it is NOT the end of the story. This means that your voice and vote matter. We need to start getting involved with campaigns for 2018 to make sure we get a Governor that supports Medicaid and in 2020 to find a US Senator that supports Medicaid. If we all pull together and vote for candidates that support Medicaid and health care for everyone we can undo damage-but for now lets’ keep focusing on prevention.
In closing–I know we are all scared. Many of us rely on Medicaid for life or liberty or love someone that relies on Medicaid. However, we cannot be cowed into silence. If our elected officials will not be brave enough to stand up for what is right we need to do it–by continuing to use our voices and our votes and our action. Justin Dart’s famous saying “get involved in politics as if your life depends on it–because it does” has never been truer.
Don’t mourn, organize.
Stay angry, stay strong