The Senate’s health care bill is here…and it’s even worse than the AHCA.
We’ve always known that access to safe, affordable, equitable health care is important for Montana. Between the fight to pass the Affordable Care Act and the work to close the coverage gap through Medicaid expansion, the uninsured rate in our state has dramatically fallen. Our communities are stronger, our rural hospitals and clinics are more fiscally solvent, and our state has seen an economic boost for the passage of these policies.
These gains are important, but we continue to defend access to health care for all Montanans simply because it is a basic human right. You shouldn’t have to wonder if blowing a disk in your back will bankrupt you. You shouldn’t have to worry about being able to afford your life-saving insulin. You shouldn’t have to wonder if your kid’s most basic checkups are covered by insurance. You should be able to rest easy at night knowing that you will never be forced to choose between paying rent or paying a medical bill during a time of crisis. You should know that, no matter what happens, you will always receive the care you need.
In spite of the huge gains we’ve seen in increased access to health care, AHCA (American Health Care Act) and the Senate’s recently-released bill threaten to gut the programs that have dramatically improved access in Montana. Both plans threaten coverage for hundreds of thousands of Montanans. Working families, children, seniors, people with disabilities — everyone who today or in the future will rely on Medicare, Medicaid, CHIP, or the Affordable Care Act is at risk.
This plan is unacceptable. We cannot stand by while the coverage we have fought long and hard for is ripped out from underneath our communities and sacrificed at the alter of tax breaks for the rich and corporate profits.
And, we need your help. Senator Tester and Senator Daines need to keep hearing from their constituents, especially as debate on this plan ramps up.
Here are five things you can do in the next week to raise your voice and defend access to life-saving health care:
1) Join us tomorrow in Bozeman to tell Senator Daines that health care is a human right. We’re gathering at noon in Soroptomist Park for a gravestone art installation before going to Sen. Daines’ office and delivering messages from his constituents. Click here for a link to the event page.
2) Take a minute today to call and voice your own support for Medicaid, the ACA, and CHIP and demand that Congress stops their effort to repeal vital provisions of the ACA that provide much-needed health care access to thousands of Montanans. Then, call again tomorrow. And the day after that. And the day after that one.
Billings: (406) 252–0550
Bozeman: (406) 586–4450
Great Falls: (406) 452–9585
Kalispell: (406) 257–3360
Missoula: (406) 728–3003
Helena: (406) 449–5401
Butte: (406) 723–3277
D.C.: (202) 224–2644
Billings: (406) 245–6822
Bozeman: (406) 587–3446
Great Falls: (406) 453–0148
Kalispell: (406) 257–3765
Missoula: (406) 549–8198
Helena: (406) 443–3189
D.C.: (202) 224–2651
3) Join Senator Tester at his Health Care Town Hall in Great Falls on Saturday. Go to 501 Bay Drive in Great Falls at 6:30pm and thank Senator Tester for standing strong against the Senate’s attempts to roll back health care access.
4) Join Senator Daines’ tele-town hall on Wednesday, June 28th at noon and ask him to stand opposed to the Senate’s health care bill. To get on the list to join, text SenatorDaines (all one word) to 828282.
4) Click here to share your health care story. Your story is vital for our ability to effectively voice the real concerns of our communities to our Congressional Delegation. Everyone has a story, and every story is important.
Don’t sit by while Congress unravels our hard-fought access to health care.
From our friends at Community Catalyst, these are four ways that the Senate’s health care bill would be devastating for our state and nation:
- Make even deeper cuts to Medicaid than the House version. It would effectively end Medicaid expansion by winding down its funding, shift significant costs to states and health care providers, and harm millions of seniors, people with disabilities and children.
- Benefit the wealthy and healthy at the expense of those who are low-income.
- Make coverage less affordable. The bill requires individuals to pay substantially more for less coverage.
It would allow insurers to offer skimpier plans with higher out-of-pocket costs, and would not guarantee everyone will have access to services like maternity care or mental health treatment.
It would substantially reduce the amount of financial assistance individuals can receive to help pay for coverage, especially for older adults who would have to pay up to 16% of their income for premiums alone.
- Cause the individual insurance market to unravel. By putting affordable coverage out of reach and removing the incentive to purchase health coverage, this bill would make the individual insurance market dangerously unstable and cause premiums to skyrocket for everyone, especially people who need health insurance the most.
If you want to volunteer, write a letter to the editor, or have a question contact Micah at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sarah, Micah, Kylie, and Jules