How to talk to our senators about health care during the July recess

Congress goes on recess July 1st through July 9th. That means Senators Hatch and Lee should be home in Utah. Both our senators were on the original committee of 13 senators charged with writing the Senate’s health care bill, and both will surely have health care on their minds after Senate Majority leader Mitch McConnell postponed the Senate vote on the bill this week in hopes of improving it. Senator Lee was one of 5 GOP senators opposed to the bill for the burden it puts on states.

The truth is that neither the House’s American Health Care Act nor the Senate’s Better Care Reconciliation Act improve health care for Americans over the Affordable Care Act. In fact, just the opposite. Both bills strip away health care, Medicaid and the services, treatments and medications that millions upon millions of Americans rely on for their health and survival.

Our senators need to hear from us that we care about good, affordable health care more than politics. They need to hear strong facts and data about why it’s time to scrap ACA repeal bills and work in a bipartisan way to make the ACA work even better. In light of Trump’s tweet this morning that the ACA should be repealed now and replaced later, let’s make sure our Senators know that repealing ACA is not a good idea, and repealing without a replacement is unacceptable.

CALL TO ACTION

  • Contact our Senators during the July recess by visiting their local Utah offices or calling their local Utah staffers to give them good facts and personal stories about why we should be keeping and improving the Affordable Care Act, not repealing it.

Sen. Orrin Hatch (801) 524-4380 (SLC) // (801) 375-7881 (Provo) // (435) 634-1795 (St. George) // (801) 625-5672 (Ogden) // (435) 586-8435 (Cedar City)
Sen. Mike Lee 801-524-5933 (SLC) // 435-628-5514 (St. George) // 801-392-9633 (Ogden)

Talking points:

The Affordable Care Act continues to improve health care in Utah.

  • Uninsured rates have dropped 25% in Utah since the ACA marketplace became operational, creating a historically low uninsured rate in Utah

Despite claims that the ACA is collapsing in Utah, the facts show the opposite is true:

  • Enrollment in marketplace health care plans in Utah grew 12.3% in 2017, the 3rd highest increase in the nation
  • 95% of Utahns have access to two or more insurers on healthcare.gov
  • 85% of Utahns receive premium subsidies and 69% get cost-sharing reductions to lower deductibles and co-pays – which the BCRA limits
  • Trump administration’s deliberate sabotage of cost-sharing payments is major source of marketplace uncertainty, according to insurers

Repealing the ACA means cutting:

  • health coverage for 273,000 Utahns
  • $1 billion annually in crucial funding to the CDC for immunization, disease prevention and bioterrorism threats
  • protections for 1.2 million Utahns with pre-existing conditions and for 1.2 million Utahns (including 411,000 children) at risk for caps on their lifetime limits for coverage
  • life-saving treatments for Utah consumers
  • guaranteed free preventative services like cancer screenings, blood pressure screenings and vaccines for over 1.8 million Utahns
  • savings and comprehensive drug coverage for thousands of seniors and disabled Utahns through the closing of the Medicare donut hole
  • refunds for Utahns from plans that overcharge for premiums (amounting to $8.5 million to date)
  • $5 billion in federal funding to the state for Medicaid, CHIP, and financial assistance for marketplace coverage

Repealing the ACA means threatening:

  • health insurance for the 25% of Utah children enrolled in ACA (the nation’s highest percentage)
  • affordability of insurance for 145,000 additional Utahns who currently get an average of $187/mo in subsidies to cover their insurance premiums
  • premium subsidies for the 85% of Utahns enrolled in ACA, particularly large households and people earning middle and lower median incomes, who receive enough subsidies to cover 69% of the average monthly premiums of Utah’s ACA enrollees
  • subsidies that currently lower deductibles and co-payments

Medicaid cuts proposed in the AHCA and Senate bill have significantly negative impacts in Utah, including:

  • Complete loss of health care coverage for many of the 308,000 Utahns who rely on Medicaid for their health insurance, including children, pregnant women, seniors and disabled people
  • Reduced services, treatments and medications for Utahns who remain on Medicaid
  • Loss of hundreds of millions of federal dollars to the state each year for health care with no decreases in health care costs or increases in affordability of insurance
  • State administrative burdens and coverage delays and denials from new work requirements for Utahns enrolled in Medicaid, despite the fact that most able-bodied adults on Medicaid already work

(Data from the Utah Health Policy Project and Families USA)

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