Friday, January 20, 2017

Fight ACA insta-repeal: Contact strategically placed friends and family

Congressional aides and other political insiders often say that elected officials pretty much discount calls and letters from those outside their own constituency. Taking that received wisdom to heart, I have been pitching friends and family in states with Republican senators to call or email those senators and urge them to reject ACA "repeal-and-delay" -- and encouraging people in my local advocacy group, BlueWaveNJ, to do the same.

Using what comes to hand, I thought I'd share my template letters here -- that is, letters to friends and family in Texas and Pennsylvania. Texas first, because interesting news prompted me to cook it up yesterday.  But the PA letter  is more of a general template, with more resources and context Ohio is next for me. Each one includes contact info and state health facts, courtesy mainly of Families USA's tool to pull same.

So if you've read this far, would you please call or write Unc in Ohio or former college roommate in Louisiana and ask them to call/email their senators? Please use/share/adapt the PA template letter (below the TX one) if it's useful - or maybe just the link library at the end of it.  Thanks...

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Dear AUNTIE IN TEXAS:

Texas Senator John Cornyn today said something very interesting about ACA repeal:
A group of Republican governors met with Republican members of the Senate Finance Committee on Thursday, and some expressed concerns about the number of people who could lose insurance once GOP lawmakers repeal the Affordable Care Act.

One of the top concerns is what will happen to individuals who became eligible for Medicaid with its expansion under Obamacare. The Senate's No. 2 Republican, however, promised that no one who got coverage under Medicaid expansion will lose it.

When Cornyn was asked if he was concerned about people who've benefited from Medicaid expansion losing coverage, he said it was a shared concern.

"Were all concerned, but it ain't going to happen," Cornyn said. "Will you write that down... It ain't gonna happen."
That just underscores that any Republican senator may potentially work openly or covertly to either prevent passage of an ACA "repeal and delay" bill or limit its damage -- for example, by delaying repeal of the taxes that fund benefits along with the benefits themselves.

Elected reps mostly listen only to their own constituents. Can I ask you to use your wide contact list and urge fellow Texans to call Cornyn, 202-224-3542, or  write to him. and urge him not to dis-insure 913,000 Texans insured through the marketplace, or the 12+ million insured nationally via the Medicaid expansion whom he just promised to keep whole? A summary of Texas state health facts pertaining to the ACA is here.  The message is "no repeal without replace" -- that is,Republicans won't admit to not wanting to repeal the ACA, but they should be pressured not to repeal it without a replacement that covers at least as many people as the ACA at least as adequately.

As you probably know, Republicans are vowing to "insta-repeal" the ACA with a "repeal-and-delay" bill that would defund the Medicaid expansion and marketplace subsidies after a "transition" period of 2 or more years. During that time they'd allegedly pass a replacement, dragging Democrats along to avoid dis-insuring 20 million.

By using "budget reconciliation," Republicans can do repeal with just 51 Senate votes, whereas they'd need 60 votes for a full repeal-and-replace. The thing is,at least twelve Republican senators have expressed qualms about passing repeal without having a replacement in hand. Most of them represent states that have expanded Medicaid -- and Cornyn, as part of the leadership, feels that, even though Texas has refused the expansion.  If just three R. senators balk at repeal-and-delay, it won't happen. And Rs will never manage repeal-and-replace together.

Thanks for any help you can offer...

Saving the ACA and preventing the dis-insuring of 20 million people is doable. We just need to do it.

Best,
Your devoted nephew


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Dear family and friends in Pennsylvania!

As you know, Republicans are vowing to "insta-repeal" the ACA with a "repeal-and-delay" bill that would defund the Medicaid expansion and marketplace subsidies after a "transition" period of 2 or more years. During that time they'd allegedly pass a replacement, dragging Democrats along to avoid dis-insuring 20 million.

By using "budget reconciliation," Republicans can do repeal with just 51 Senate votes, whereas they'd need 60 votes for a full repeal-and-replace. The thing is,at least ten Republican senators have expressed qualms about passing repeal without having a replacement in hand. Most of them represent states that have expanded Medicaid -- as Pennsylvania has.  If just three R. senators balk at repeal-and-delay, it won't happen. And Rs will never manage repeal-and-replace together.

Would you please call Senator Pat Toomey, (202) 224-4254, or send him an email, here, and urge him not to support repeal without a replacement that covers at least as many people?  No Republican elected official will admit to not wanting to repeal the ACA. But if they hold out for simultaneous repeal and replacement, that will never happen, unless they a) offer coverage generously funded enough to bring 8 Democrats along, or b) abolish the Senate filibuster.

It's also worthwhile calling your Congressional rep (see links below). Repeal-and-delay could fail in the House, too.

A few key facts about the impact of repeal in Pennsylvania (in a call, you might just cite the top line): 

1) 956,000 Pennsylvanians stand to lose coverage under repeal, according to Urban Institute estimate 
2) 603,000 covered through the Medicaid expansion stand to lose coverage
3) 321,000 subsidized through the marketplace stand to lose coverage

Also, if you can think of friends/family in other Republican states whom you can urge to call/write, here's how to equip them:

State health facts (how many will lose coverage in each state?) 
Full list of senators' contact info - phone #s and website contact pages (alphabetical)

Thanks for your help! Would you please let me know when you've called or emailed?

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P.S. For more info about 10 Republican senators who have voiced qualms about repeal without replace (there are now more) and how to reach them, see here.



























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