Latest Changes to American Health Act Little More than a Fig Leaf
The latest additions to the American Health Care Act (AHCA) will do nothing to cure its fundamental defects of breaking repeated promises from Congressional Republicans to protect people with pre-existing conditions.
House Speaker Paul Ryan pulled the AHCA from the floor in March because he didn’t have the votes to be sure of its passage. A “deal” (Meadows-McArthur amendment) during the Congressional recess made a bad bill worse, giving states an opportunity to seek a nearly automatic waiver from both the essential benefit requirements of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and the requirements to charge persons in the individual market the same regardless of a pre-existing condition. This deal converted the resistant Freedom Caucus Republicans from a “no” vote on AHCA to a likely “yes” vote.
But centrist Republicans began to express opposition to the amendment as they returned from recess. The President and House Leadership have continued to “tweak” the bill to try to get to the magic number of 216 votes. This week the Upton-Long amendment surfaced with an offering of $8 billion to be added to the $130 billion AHCA for the states. If this money is to encourage states to create high risk pools, it is way short of the amount needed.
Republicans in the House can do all the backroom vote-trading they want; their bill will still harm most Ohioans because it not only guts essential benefits and pre-existing condition protections, it will result in the restoration of annual and lifetime caps on benefits, a very popular provision of the ACA.
This isn’t what people in America want. It is time for the GOP to drop this crazed fixation on repeal and move on.
Call Your Representatives – Possible Vote on Trumpcare TOMORROW
The House has revived their Trumpcare bill again, this time with an amendment that would take away care from people with pre-existing conditions. The bill has more support this time around, and the House could vote TOMORROW. You must call your representative today and tell them not to vote for this bill.
We MUST get our message through to our representatives that this bill is destructive and will take health care away from millions. Please call your representatives TODAY!
Everyone should call their representatives, but it’s especially important to call if you live in one of these legislators’ districts:
Please encourage others in those districts to call, and visit our Facebook page for shareable graphics.
Congress Revives Trumpcare Again, Targets Pre-Existing Conditions
Once again, House Republicans are trying to revive their failed Trumpcare bill, this time with changes that could take away coverage from even more people, including people with pre-existing conditions. Click here for a refresher on what the original bill would mean for Ohio.
A change to the bill would allow states to request an exemption from rules that protect consumers. People with pre-existing conditions could again be charged much higher, unaffordable premiums, and insurance plans would no longer be required to provide “essential” services like maternity care and mental health care. There could be even more harmful changes that we don’t yet know about.
The House of Representatives will try to bring this bill to a vote next week when they return from recess.
Remember to take every opportunity to let your members of Congress know how important real health care is. We may be calling on you to raise your voice louder if the House moves forward with this bill.
Thank you for continuing to stand with us to protect our care.
TODAY’S THE DAY – Tell your House member not to support Trumpcare
TOMORROW, the House of Representatives will vote on “Trumpcare,” the bill to repeal the Affordable Care Act. The House is fractured – many members are undecided or have expressed concern about the bill. It’s our LAST CHANCE to tell house members not to support the ACA repeal bill. Your member of the House of Representatives MUST hear from you before the vote on Thursday.
TODAY, Wednesday, March 22, call your member of the House of Representatives and tell them NOT to vote for the bill to repeal the ACA.
Before the House votes on this bill, you must tell your representative that Trumpcare would be a disaster that would make health coverage more expensive, hurt health care for the most vulnerable Americans, and take away critical rights, all to fund tax cuts for wealthy Americans. TODAY, call your House member and tell them not to vote for the bill to repeal the Affordable Care Act.
TODAY: National Call-In Day to Protect Health Care and Medicaid
Congressional leaders are rushing to take health care from millions of Americans and harm Medicaid with extreme cuts to health care for children, seniors, and people with disabilities. Trumpcare would change Medicaid to “per capita caps” so that states must either find billions of new dollars or cut coverage and care.
Today, March 16, join the National Medicaid Call-In Day to protect our care. Call 866-426-2631 (or 877-736-7831 for Spanish) to be connected to your members of Congress. To reach your members of Congress directly, call Senator Portman at 202-224-3353 or click here to find your Representative.
Tell Republicans in Congress: Vote “NO” on the Trumpcare bill. We can’t afford for health care and Medicaid to be taken away from children, seniors, and people with disabilities and for monthly premiums and co-pays to go up for all Americans. We want healthy communities for all of Ohio.
Don’t forget to share your story of how you, your patients, friends, neighbors, and loved ones would be affected if Congress guts Medicaid. If you don’t know anyone that has been on Medicaid, let your member of Congress know why you believe health care is important to everyone.
New Legislation Could Reduce Trend of Too Few Dentists and Too Much Decay
Today, Senators Peggy Lehner (R-Kettering) and Cecil Thomas (D-Cincinnati) introduced Senate Bill 98 (SB98), legislation that would allow dental therapists to practice in Ohio’s underserved communities. Dental therapists are specially trained professionals who can provide a limited number of treatment services like filling cavities. Allowing dental therapists to work for dentists would address the significant shortage of oral health professionals throughout Ohio.
New data from the Ohio Department of Health show that we continue to fail our children when it comes to oral health care. According to the Ohio Department of Health (ODH), 51 percent of Ohio’s third graders have a history of tooth decay, and 17 percent have untreated tooth decay. Children from low-income families and those without private insurance have about two times more untreated cavities and toothaches. This new legislation could dramatically increase access to care in Ohio’s underserved communities.
“Access to oral health care has been Ohio’s number one unmet health need for children and low-income adults for more than two decades,” said Steve Wagner, Executive Director of Universal Health Care Action Network of Ohio (UHCAN Ohio). “This should be the last generation of children who suffer needlessly from lack of access to dental care.”
Nearly a third of the children did not get dental care because they had no insurance or Medicaid/insurance was not accepted by the provider. Another 30 percent could not afford care, 16 percent had to wait too long for an appointment, and eight percent had no way to get to a dentist.
The access problem is worsened by the lack of dentists in many communities. As of February 2017, ODH reports that Ohio has 88 dental health professional shortage areas, up from 56 in 2009 and 85 in 2016. The shortage areas are counties or communities where there are too few dentists to meet the communities’ needs.
“The expertise and experience of dentists are needed to provide complex care, but not all dental services need to be delivered by a dentist,” said Wagner. “Ohio would greatly benefit by having practitioners who can provide basic restorative care—the care that is most needed in underserved communities – and who can refer patients with more complex needs to a dentist.”
“Despite more than a decade of success in the U.S., out-of-date laws prevent dental therapists from employment in most states, including Ohio,” said David Maywhoor, Project Director of UHCAN Ohio’s Dental Access Now! campaign. “By allowing dental therapists to practice in our state, we can ensure that more children are not suffering from untreated tooth decay.”
Dental therapist programs are designed to help expand access to dental care in underserved communities. In Alaska, they have increased access to 45,000 Alaska Natives who could not get regular dental care before. In Minnesota, dental therapists have significantly increased care for underserved patients.
SB98 improves the dental care workforce to expand access to care in underserved areas by:
“We hope Senate Bill 98 will quickly make its way through the legislature,” continued Maywhoor. “Ohioans cannot wait any longer to get the care they need.”