Congress has already taken steps to begin the repeal of the Affordable Care Act. On Thursday the Senate voted 51-48 on the budget resolution, which includes instructions for nixing the Affordable Care Act, largely along a party-line vote. GOP Sen. Rand Paul (Ky.) was the only Republican to vote against the resolution. On Friday the House of Representatives followed suit by a vote of 227-198. Altogether, only nine Republican lawmakers voted against it.
While it is possible that a repeal of the ACA could leave Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) untouched, and focus only on the private insurance side of the ACA, it doesn’t seem likely given the votes we saw in the Senate early last Thursday morning.
Senate Democrats presented multiple amendments during the late-night “vote-a-rama,” (back-to-back roll call votes on numerous amendments), seeking to ensure continued access to coverage for people with pre-existing conditions, prevent any changes to Medicare, Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program, and allow young adults to stay on their parents’ health insurance plans until they turn 26.
Here are a few of the amendments that were blocked:
- Protect people with pre-existing conditions
An amendment that would have made it harder to take away coverage from Americans with preexisting medical conditions. 52 million people — about 1 in 4 non-elderly Americans — have preexisting conditions. These Americans are more likely to face significant health costs, and before the Affordable Care Act, were often denied coverage entirely. The amendment also would have protected coverage for people disabilities or chronic health conditions, and prevent plans from discriminating based on health. Only two Republicans — Maine’s Susan Collins and Nevada’s Dean Heller — voted for the amendment.
- Let young adults stay on their parents’ plan
Democratic Sen. Tammy Baldwin offered an amendment that would have made it easier for young people to stay on their parents’ health care plan until they are 26 — one of the most popular and effective provisions of the Affordable Care Act. Over 6 million young adults have gained health insurance since the law was implemented in 2010, and young Americans now report better physical and mental health. The provision is also overwhelmingly popular — 85 percent favor keeping young people on their parents’ insurance plans. Sens. Heller and Collins were the only two senators who bucked their party on this vote.
- Ensure Medicaid expansion stays in place
Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act benefited 11 million low-income Americans in 2015 alone and has created thousands of jobs for direct care workers. An amendment by Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ) would have sought to continue Medicaid expansion.
- Protect children on Medicaid or CHIP
An amendment was offered by Senator Brown (D-OH) that would ensure children could keep their health coverage on Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), both of which provide comprehensive health care services for children including key preventive and developmental care.
~ Source: Think Progress ~
Medicaid is a multi-generational program set up to protect our most vulnerable consumers at any stage in their lives. Under the ACA, Medicaid has expanded in many states to cover people in the coverage gap – those earning too much for traditional Medicaid but too little to qualify for tax credits in the Marketplace.
Despite its complex features, Medicaid serves two basic functions: to insure low-income adults and children and to fund long-term services and supports for millions of adults and children with serious illnesses or disabilities who are at risk of impoverishment as a result of their health.
~ Source: The Commonwealth Fund ~
Through the Affordable Care Act, Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) have worked in unison to dramatically cut the ranks of the uninsured across the country. CHIP has provided coverage to the almost eight million children whose families currently or once lived in the coverage gap. The percentage of uninsured children has dropped from 14.9 percent in 1997 to just 4.8 percent in 2015 — a 68 percent reduction.
In addition to raising the mandatory financial eligibility standard for the Medicaid program for children ages 6 to 18 from 100 percent to 138 percent of poverty, the ACA provided five years of additional funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program, while also increasing federal CHIP funding levels. CHIP provides coverage to children in families who earn too much to qualify for Medicaid. States can opt to use their CHIP allotments either to expand Medicaid, fund a separate CHIP program, or create a combination of the two approaches. In 2015 Congress continued CHIP funding through September 30, 2017.
While there has been bipartisan support for CHIP, a repeal law could extend the program but make it much more restrictive, for example, by limiting eligibility to the poorest children and eliminating the enhanced funding now available to help states support their programs. This could result in a decrease in current services for children and would most assuredly cause uninsured numbers to rise.
The Affordable Care Act also created new options for coverage of freestanding birthing centers, family planning services, and hospice care for children covered under Medicaid or CHIP.
The ACA also gave special attention to young adults up to age 26 who previously had been in foster care by adding a provision to ensure they would qualify for coverage. This provision parallels the one enabling young adults to remain on their parents’ health plans until they turn 26.
Repeal will also have a devastating impact on children in foster care in the states. For children at risk of entering the foster care system, the ACA provides necessary supports to them through their parents.
Thanks to the ACA, many parents have health coverage, including access to substance use treatment and behavioral health services, for the first time. These services are at the front line of prevention, supporting parents in caring for their children. If Congress chooses to repeal the ACA without offering a more robust, accessible vehicle for health service, these parents will lose access to important, needed services.
Eva Marie Stahl from Community Catalyst writes that repeal of the ACA could lead to an increased number of children being removed from families following reunification because parents will lose access to vital behavioral services and supports. Preventing children from entering into a cycle of foster care means providing needed services and support to parents, ranging from substance use treatment and mental health services to parent coaching and housing support. The ACA is a vital part of the prevention framework – enabling families to access important health services before a crisis hits. It is an important tool needed to keep families strong.
There is a lot at stake for children and families as the plan to repeal the Affordable Care Act moves forward. And we need your help!
Personal stories are the most powerful tools we have in our fight to protect access to affordable, high-quality healthcare for all children. By telling your story in support of CHIP, Medicaid and the consumer protections gained under the Affordable Care Act, you help put a face to how kids and families will be impacted by the threat to repeal the Affordable Care Act and dismantle Medicaid and CHIP.
Every Child Matters in NH and Maine are collecting stories from the families whose children have benefitted from Medicaid and CHIP. Please share this link and help us collect real life stories that we will share with our members of Congress and the new Administration in Washington.
GROWING UP GRANITE
On Saturday, January 21, 2017, we will unite at the New Hampshire State House in Concord in solidarity with the Women’s March on Washington and in support of our rights, our safety, our health, our families, and our environment. Together, we will send a message to elected officials in New Hampshire and Washington, D.C. that we will stand together to protect the progress we’ve made. We won’t go back!
ALL ARE WELCOME. This is an inclusive day of action and unity. We believe in the strength possible when we act together and are committed to an inclusivity that will allow us to build unlikely coalitions among our diverse voices, guide us, and inspire us. Our aim is to solidify unity by bringing diverse voices together so that in the coming months and years of new national and state leadership, NO ONE is left behind.
PLEASE NOTE: We will be sending an email with more details on speakers and presenters, parking, logistics, etc. in advance of the event to anyone who signs up here with a valid email address. We will share information as it becomes available on our Facebook page.
When is the Day of Action & Unity?
Date: Saturday, January 21, 2017
Time: 10 AM – 3 PM
10:00 New Hampshire Women’s Solidarity Rally for Action w/ keynote speaker Jodi Picoult at the State House Plaza (additional speaking program TBA)
11:30-1:15: Activist Training at Phenix Hall hosted by Planned Parenthood New Hampshire Action Fund – FULL
11:30: Drum Circle at the State House Plaza led by Julie Corey and Kathy Lowe. Everyone is welcome, please bring your own chair.
11:30: Sharing food and conversation hosted by NH Unites at various locations (RSVP required)
1:30: New Hampshire Gathers for Unity at the State House Plaza (speaking program TBA)
Partner Organizations/Causes: ACLU of NH; American Friends Service Committee Program of NH; Equality Health Center; Every Child Matters in NH; Granite State Progress; Greater Manchester NAACP; Joan G. Lovering Health Center; League of Conservation Voters; Moms Clean Air Force; Moms Demand Action; MomsRising; NASW-NH; New Futures; NH AFL-CIO; NH Alliance for Immigrants and Refugees; NH Campaign for a Family Friendly Economy; NH Citizens Alliance for Action; NH Council of Churches; NH PublicHealth Assocation; NH Sierra Club; NH Unites; NH Women’s Foundation; NH Young Democrats; People for the American Way; Planned Parenthood NH Action Fund; The Multicultural Center at St. Anselm College; The Waysmeet Center; YWCA of New Hampshire; the Zonta Club of Concord
Why January 21?
Women’s marches and rallies are taking place on Saturday, January 21 across the nation and worldwide to send a message to our leaders that the United States of America stands for values of human decency, equal rights, and freedom from discrimination.
Why not march in D.C. instead?
You can, but many of us will not be able to make it to the march in Washington, D.C. due to logistics and costs. But we can come together in our local communities to march for our shared values. The Women’s March provides an international directory and statistics for all women’s marches on that day, including over 100 marches worldwide with 357,000 marchers currently registered. See “FIND YOUR MARCH” and search by state to locate an event near you. Visit the website for more details and information.
Can I attend the NH Women’s Day of Action & Unity if I am not a woman?
Yes, everyone who believes that women’s rights are human rights is invited! We march for freedom, human rights, climate justice, racial justice, economic justice, and reproductive justice.
Can NHWDAU accommodate people with disabilities?
Yes, this event is inclusive of people with disabilities. The State House lawn is wheelchair accessible, however, we cannot guarantee close parking. ASL translation will be provided at the event. If you have questions about accessibility, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Who can I reach out to if I want to volunteer?
If you are interested in volunteering, please contact email@example.com and include in the subject “Volunteer on Jan 21”.
How can I contact the organizer with any questions?