Republican lawmakers wasted no time in moving to dismantle the Affordable Care Act (ACA), President Obama’s signature legislative achievement. A day after the 115th Congress gaveled in, the Senate voted 51-48 mostly along party lines to move ahead in debating a fiscal year 2017 budget resolution that includes reconciliation instructions for repealing the 2010 health care law.
Under budget reconciliation, congressional committees are given instructions to develop legislation to achieve particular budgetary results through changes to mandatory spending, tax revenue, or the debt ceiling. Republicans seek to repeal the ACA’s provisions that affect spending and taxes. When these reconciliation bills reach the Senate floor, only a simple majority of senators will have to vote for the bills to gain passage. For other bills, a 60-vote majority is often needed to end debate and move to a final vote. Senate Republicans have a thin majority over their Democratic colleagues: 52-48.
Senate Democratic Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), House Democratic Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) issued a letter asking local communities to help organize and participate in protests against repealing the ACA. The lawmakers have called for a day of action on January 15, during which rallies and other events will be held across the country to show support for the ACA, Medicaid, and Medicare.
The ACA and its expansion of the Medicaid program has become a vital tool in helping address homelessness in America. Often suffering from serious physical and mental health issues, chronically homeless individuals are heavy users of expensive emergency health, hospital, and even criminal justice systems and services. Advocates argue that Medicaid expansion and supportive housing can work together to reduce chronic homelessness in a deficit neutral way by combining affordable and permanent housing with case management, primary and mental health care, substance abuse treatment, employment, and other services that help people achieve stability and independence rather than being forced to rely on more expensive, less effective interventions.
The National Alliance to End Homelessness and the National Health Care for the Homeless Council will host a national advocacy call on January 11 to educate homeless service providers and stakeholders on the positive impact Medicaid expansion has had in ending homelessness, to connect with local homeless service providers and stakeholders, and to encourage advocacy for the Affordable Care Act—and the Medicaid Expansion specifically—with members of Congress. The call will provide information on proposed changes to Medicaid being discussed in Congress and the information you can provide that will best promote Medicaid’s effectiveness in improving health and lowering costs. The webinar will provide talking points and tools for reaching out to your members and will provide time for questions.
Read the letter from Leaders Schumer and Pelosi and Senator Sanders at: http://bit.ly/2iIC4Dg
Register for the national advocacy call at: http://bit.ly/2hX8AQb