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Call Your Rep: Health Care

31 January 2017

This is my first post in the "Call Your Rep" series... If you're reading this, and you have a US Senator or House Representative who is not voting the way you want them to vote, it's time to act: Call your representative!

This post contains background, facts and talking points, and a call to action for your phone call. For more details on how to make this callread the introductory post here, which includes information about why I started this series, how to find your representative's phone number, how to call your representative to have the most impact, a sample call script, and how to be notified of new posts.

Background (why I chose this topic for today's Call Your Rep)

The first few days of President Trump have brought a lot of executive orders, Cabinet nominations, and public statements that need to be addressed. One of the most urgent issues is Immigration -- but this is already being challenged in court and is receiving a lot of attention. Also, the focus of this series is on things that Congress is working on, or needs to work on... So I've decided to start this series, instead, on the issue of health care.

As you almost certainly know, under President Barack Obama, Congress passed the Affordable Care Act, also known as "Obamacare". The Republicans in Congress, along with President Trump, have promised to repeal or defund it, and they are currently thinking about what to replace it with. We need to call our representatives now, to make sure they consider our needs, and the needs of the country, when they repeal or modify the law.

Topic ("I want to speak to someone about...")

Health Care and the Affordable Care Act

Talking Points and Facts ("Here are some thoughts...")

  • The percentage of US adults without health care coverage dropped from about 17% to 11% after passage of the Affordable Care Act.
  • About 20 million Americans are now covered under various provisions of the Affordable Care Act (if you are personally being covered by one of its provisions, mention this too).
  • The Affordable Care Act requires everyone to get insurance. Having healthy people in insurance plans lowers premiums.
  • If people without insurance need health care, their main option is charity care at an emergency room. This is an expensive way to provide health care, and also not a very effective way to maintain health.
  • The Affordable Care Act forbids insurance companies from denying coverage, not covering pre-existing conditions, or charging more based on health conditions. Prior to the Affordable Care Act, people with certain conditions could not get insurance, or could not afford insurance (mention if you personally or someone you know was in this situation).
  • The Affordable Care Act defines what must be covered in a health plan. Prior to the Affordable Care Act, some plans excluded certain essential types of health care from their coverage.

Call To Action ("I am asking _____ to ______")

Make sure that if Congress acts, that these features are preserved:

  • Do not repeal the Affordable Care Act without a replacement in place.
  • Individual mandate (everyone is required to have health insurance)
  • Employer mandate (employers are required to provide coverage)
  • Full coverage (no one can be denied coverage, no limit on coverage amounts, keep the current list of what must be covered, and pre-existing conditions are covered)
  • Equal cost (premiums cannot depend on patient health)
  • Subsidies (Medicaid expansion, or an equivalent subsidy, so that everyone can either afford to buy insurance or is covered by a government plan)

References (where I got this information)