Five minutes of your time could impact Senate health care funding decisions

Posted on behalf of Paul Freeman, IH Section Action Board Representative.

We urge you to ring your local Senator to encourage them NOT to vote in favor of the Better Care Reconciliation Act (BCRA) currently being considered by the Senate. If only a few more Senators oppose the Act it will not pass.

The evidence is that senators are influenced by phone calls and letters from their local voting constituents. Cumulatively, individual approaches can influence them as much as those from large organizations that they may see as not affecting local voting.

To reach your senators, ring the Capitol switchboard at 202-224-3121. You should mention your postcode and your residence there and you will be put through to the appropriate senator’s office.  All you need to do then is again mention: who you are, your residence in their electorate, your health expertise and calmly and civilly your health concerns in as short as a few minutes.

A few key talking points against this Act:

  • According to the June 26 analysis by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, the Better Care Reconciliation Act would result in 22 million Americans, including children, losing health insurance coverage by 2026.
  • The Act would greatly cut funding through the Prevention and Public Health Fund. 
  • It is critical to maintain this funding which makes up more than 12 percent of the budget at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The Better Care Reconciliation Act would eliminate the prevention fund placing our nation’s health security at risk especially from new infectious disease outbreaks either man made by terrorists or occurring naturally.  The financial costs of epidemics can far out weight those in preventing them.
  • Ongoing international cooperation, epidemic surveillance and timely vaccine development and modernization of systems is needed in an ongoing manner to prevent and rapidly respond to such epidemics as the recent Zika, and Ebola outbreaks. Unchecked infectious epidemics can reach the magnitude of the Spanish flu which killed over 50 million people in 1918. Similar could well occur again if we are unprepared.
  • The Better Care Reconciliation Act would allow states to opt-out of requiring health plans to cover the 10 essential health benefits such as maternity care, mental health and substance abuse disorder services and prescription drug coverage.
  • This provision would likely lead to significantly higher out-of-pocket costs for consumers who can only afford plans that may not cover the services they will need. 
  • The BCRA would phase out the ACA’s Medicaid expansion, cut federal contributions to Medicaid by $722 billion over 10 years, and starting in 2025, would cut the federal contribution to Medicaid even deeper than the House-passed bill.

Learn more on APHA’s Health Reform page here or visit APHA’s Take Action! website.

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