Protect the ACA – Write a Letter to Senator John McCain Asking him to Vote NO on Graham-Cassidy
Senator McCain will be a crucial vote on this bill, so we need to pressure him to do the right thing. Please consider writing a letter and faxing it to him using this link: https://faxzero.com/fax_senate.php
Also, please send this information to your email list and post it on social media.
The following is a letter that was sent to Senator McCain by Mark Swartz’s sister, Caroline Armstrong, which they have kindly shared with us. Please read it and feel free to take ideas from it in creating your own letter.
Dear Senator McCain,
I write to you with great urgency, pleading that you vote NO on the Graham-Cassidy repeal/replacement bill. It will spell disaster for me and for millions of others far worse off than me.
My understanding is that you applaud the bill’s approach to funding health care through block grants to States (giving them more flexibility implementing health care programs). While in theory that may sound appealing, the devil is in the details. And there are endless problems that have been revealed thus far with these block grants and with the bill as a whole. The CBO score will tell us more.
Meantime, how, with a straight face, do you tell Americans that a block grant, at levels which are grossly inadequate to maintain Medicaid expansion and marketplace subsidies at levels provided under the ACA, which does not adjust based on need, and which ends after 2026, is good for them? How do you honestly explain to Americans that a bill whose block grants would provide $239 billion less between 2020 and 2026 than projected federal spending for the Medicaid expansion and marketplace subsidies under current law helps them? How do you explain to Americans that a block grant, ending in 2026 could possibly address health care access, costs and needs in the long term? How do you explain to Americans that a block grant – which can be spent on basically any health care related purpose, but with no mandate to offer low and moderate income people coverage or financial assistance – will serve the needs of those who rely on today’s subsidies? How do you reassure people like me, entering the individual market place in 2018, that this horrible bill will not further destabilize the market by 1) eliminating the individual mandate; 2) eliminating market place subsidies; 3) sending premiums ever higher than they are now (largely the result of the Trump Admin’s current actions to undermine the ACA – we already knew that but here’s an article citing findings by the CBO that confirms as such – http://www.cnn.com/2017/09/15/politics/20170915-cbo-insured-rate-uncertainty-premiums/index.html). You will never reassure me of this because I know enough to know this bill is flat out destructive.
In contrast to current law, the Graham-Cassidy block grant amounts would be fixed at 2%, far lower than the rate of growth of medical costs. If states face higher costs – say due to a recession – since the block grant amount doesn’t adjust accordingly, states would either have to somehow find funding on their own (highly unlikely) or else be forced to deny people coverage (far more likely). What a horrible prospect.
This bill will also convert Medicaid’s current federal-state financial partnership into a per capita cap, capping and DEEPLY cutting federal Medicaid per-beneficiary funding for seniors, people with disabilities, and families with children. In my home state of New Jersey, the block grant and Medicaid per capita cap cut in federal funding is projected to result in a loss of $3.9 billion by 2026 ($80 billion nationwide)! This is unconscionable. So, too, is the impact the bill will have on people like me: middle-aged, women, folks with pre-existing conditions, not to mention effectively ending protections like life time caps, and essential health benefits. And if that’s not bad enough, I’ve come to learn that under Graham-Cassidy, insurers can increase premiums whenever they choose, including after one has enrolled or if your child is ill. Adding insult to injury, this miserable bill, if enacted, is projected to send the individual marketplace into further turmoil both in the short and long term.
You, Senator, of all people, who only recently benefited from life-saving surgery thanks to affordable health care, should frankly be the last person to support a bill that will effectively throw millions off of insurance (I say that with full confidence, even as we await a CBO score). How could you possibly vote yes on this atrocious and cruel bill???
The good news in my mind is that you qualified your support for this bill with the following statement, made on September 6th:
“As I have said all along, any effort to replace Obamacare must be done through the regular order of committee hearings, open debate and amendments from both sides of the aisle.”
You are also on record having said “We’ve got to have some bipartisanship around here; otherwise we’re not going to get much done.”
As you well know, there are bipartisan committees in both Houses of Congress actively seeking to address problems with health care today. So, instead of fast-tracking a bill that will preclude it from being fully vetted, debated, subject to town halls and public input, PLEASE, allow the bipartisan committees to come up with fixes AND stop the Trump Administration from continuing to sabotage the ACA marketplace.
Senator McCain, polls have shown that Americans do not support repeal/replace. According to the Kaiser Health Tracking Poll taken in August of this year, 78% think Mr. Trump and his administration should do what they can to make the current health care law work rather than sabotage it, and 57% want Republicans in Congress to work with Democrats to improve the ACA but not repeal the law. We want things fixed but that doesn’t translate into fast-tracking bad legislation that will destroy lives. Have you and your party forgotten why you were sent to Washington? Hint: it was NOT to destroy American lives. You know what, Senator? This incredibly cruel repeal/replace fight is a reflection of “the loss of morality in the health care debate” so aptly titled in a recent Washington Post opinion piece. You need to stop this once and for all.
Your vote will be a lasting legacy, Senator McCain. The history books will undoubtedly make sure of that. So, will you vote in favor of another harmful bill that your party is attempting to shepherd through the reconciliation process, an assault not only on America’s health but also on the bipartisan efforts underway to fix health care in both houses of Congress? Or will you do the morally right thing and that is to protect me and every other American from losing health care, going into bankruptcy and worse?
Caroline Armstrong, New Jersey
P.S. I know that Senator Graham is a dear friend, but let’s be clear, this is not about friends doing favors for friends. This is only about American lives and fundamental morality.
Fax letter to https://faxzero.com/fax_senate.php