Healthcare Up for Vote in Senate

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URGE YOUR SENATORS TO PROTECT PEOPLE WITH PREEXISITNG CONDITIONS

Quick review on the American Health Care Act

Last month, the American Health Care Act (AHCA or H.R. 1628) passed in the House of Representatives with 217-213 votes. AHCA was intended to protect patients with pre-existing conditions, dismantle Obamacare taxes, and eliminate the individual/employer mandate. But in turn, the bill dramatically cuts funding for Medicaid and detrimentally impacts low income, older and sick Americans. It eliminates coverage for more than 24 million people currently covered under the Affordable Care Act (ACA, also known as Obamacare). The bill gives states the authority to decide whether essential benefits, including mental health, are covered. It allows for insurers to charge more to older people and individuals with pre-existing conditions, like hydrocephalus.

Impact on those with Pre-existing conditions

Kaiser Family Foundation released an issue brief that found 6.3 million people (about 23%) with pre-existing conditions would be at risk under the AHCA. Before the Affordable Care Act became law, insurers were unwilling/reluctant to cover those with pre-existing conditions. Kaiser estimated “that 27% of non-elderly adults have a condition that would have led to a decline in coverage in the pre-ACA market.” If the AHCA becomes law, insurers would have to offer health insurance to everyone (meaning: insurance companies cannot deny an individual coverage). That’s good. However, under the AHCA, states will have the authority to opt-in for a community rating waiver that allows insurers to charge higher premiums based on an individual’s health status. That could be detrimental to those with pre-existing conditions.

Problem: Current status in the Senate

The AHCA bill passed in the House, and its fate lies in the Senate. The Senate is currently drafting a healthcare reform proposal that will no longer guarantee access to affordable care and insurance coverage. The AHCA will repeal vital protections for individuals living with preexisting conditions, like hydrocephalus. If the AHCA (or comparable legislation) is passed in the Senate, the potential law would cut billions of dollars in funding for Medicaid. It would also allow for insurance companies to charge higher premiums to people with preexisting conditions and to administer annual and lifetime caps. Senate Republicans are considering voting on the bill before the Independence Day (Fourth of July) Holiday recess.

Solution: How YOU can make a difference

  1. Contact your Senator todayand urge them to oppose the AHCA. If passed into law, the AHCA as it currently stands would be devastating for individuals with preexisting conditions, like hydrocephalus, and millions of Americans. Find your Senator here or call (202) 224-3121. Let them know how important comprehensive and affordable healthcare coverage is to you and how it saved lives.

 

  1. Tag your Senator on social media. Twitter and Facebook have become popular channels for elected officials. Grab their attention with your message. Remember to tag us @HydroAssoc so we can like and retweet!

Example: I have #hydrocephalus -I urge you to protect those with preexisting conditions @SenatorX #voteNO #AHCA. @HydroAssoc

 

  1. Write your Senator via email or letter and urge them to protect your health! Below are some tips:
  • Keep your email or letter short and to the point.
  • Use only enough facts to make your statement.
  • Tell your personal story.
  • Keep your email or letter to one page and one issue, and state the purpose of your email or letter in the opening paragraph (hint: AHCAwould be devastating for individuals with hydrocephalus and millions of Americans like me because I have a pre-existing condition and cannot afford higher premiums based on my health status.).
  • Be courteous.
  • Always close your email or letter by asking for a response.

 

  1. Visit your Senator’s office. Face-to-face contact is always the most effective way to get your opinion heard. Stop by your legislator’s office and urge your Senator and their staff to protect individuals with preexisting conditions. Take their business card and politely ask for a response.

 

  1. Be persistent! Remember to follow up.

 

For more resources to help spread the word, check out NORD’s Action Toolkit .

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