The ACA is Under Attack

The House of Representatives is considering a proposal to replace the Affordable Care Act with a plan that will result in millions of Americans losing their health insurance. We know this is a scary prospect and very complicated to understand, but here are a few key points:

  • The plan will be particularly harmful to older health consumers and the poor.
  • The bill will force people to pay much, much more for, high-deductible insurance and blows a huge hole in state budgets.
  • It gives massive tax cuts to the very wealthy and drug and insurance corporations. It also defunds Planned Parenthood.
  • The Republican bill ends Medicaid expansion and slashes state funding for the regular Medicaid program by radically changing the way Medicaid is funded.
  • States will be forced to end coverage and eliminate health care services for seniors, people with disabilities, children and working families.

The House Ways and Means Committee has already approved this plan and Congressman Dave Reichert voted yes. 

We need to press against this! 

Please call Congressman Dave Reichert’s office and ask him to vote against the bill to replace the ACA. Reichert’s office phone in Issaquah is (877) 920-9208 and (202) 225-7761 in DC. (It helps to call both offices.)

We want to know how you’re feeling about this proposed bill. Tell us more here.

Lobby Day 2017

Lobby Day 2017 was a busy one for Washington CAN! We stormed the Capitol Steps in Olympia for Equity Day — a rally with hundreds of activists from two dozen coalition partners pushing for fully-funded education in an equitable and just way that doesn’t hurt those most vulnerable in Washington. It was moving, emotional and best of all LOUD!

Also on Presidents’ Day, we participated in a press conference with Governor Jay Inslee about health care. Our Board Chair, Deana Knutsen served as emcee, long-time health advocate and witness (at the White House) to the signing of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), Gina Owens reminded us how important the ACA has been. New Spokane member, Courtney Anderson was brilliant storyteller as she shared her story of beating cancer twice. She reminded us that cancer is persistent and she fears being able to fight cancer off if it resurfaces again and she is no longer covered because the ACA was repealed by Republicans and Trump.

In all, they conveyed just how much repealing the #ACA would cost Washington state — as outlined by a new report from Health Care for America Now. The report, A Cost Too High, calculated the cost to the state being $18 Billion in lost federal funding, more than $2 Billion to doctors and hospitals and the cost to each Washington recipient eliminated from support to be $3,005 per year.

Where Is Your Heart?

We rallied outside Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers’ headquarters in Spokane on Monday, February 13th, to demand that she stand up to her peers and protect health care. We asked her WHERE IS YOUR HEART and tried to speak with her and tell her our stories of people who NEED their health care.

We prepared special presents for her — stuffed animals, each with a name and a story attached of an actual person who needs their health care. But, she was not there to hear from her constituents.

Rep. McMorris Rodgers and other Republican leaders are pushing to repeal the Affordable Care Act, which would leave thousands in her district without the quality, affordable health care they deserve. #SaveTheACA

Save the ACA Rally at Seattle’s Westlake Park

On Sunday, January 15, Washington CAN! members were out in force at Westlake Park rallying to not just save health care, but to expand it so everyone in Washington is covered. Our leader Roi-Martin Brown addressed the crowd along with the Main Street Alliance of Washington leader Makini Howell who told their own personal stories of how the Affordable Care Act (ACA) has made a difference in their lives.

Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal led the rally with strong support from the crowd. She will be a fierce ally in Washington D.C. as the fight begins to #SaveTheACA.

We are facing the repeal of the ACA and potentially huge reductions in the support for Medicaid for low-income Washingtonians. We also face an attempt to privatize Medicare. Almost all of the progress made in the last decade in health care is in jeopardy. Washington CAN! is helping to lead the fight against these challenges. A bill is being drafted to protect Washington State against the possible destruction of huge portions of our health care system.

Why Doris Wilson is an Advocate for Universal Health Care

doris-wilsonOver 32 years ago I bought my condo in the Kirkland Totem Lake neighborhood. One buying consideration was the condo’s proximity to Evergreen Hospital and Medical Center (now EvergreenHealth), which is located within a mile of my home. Soon after my purchase in 1984, Pacific Medical Centers (PacMed) opened a Totem Lake clinic. I received almost all of my health care needs at one or the other of these two facilities, except for some specialties. When I retired from the University of Washington in 1993 to care for ailing parents, I continued to receive primary care at PacMed, my HMO, under the Secure Horizons option of my health plan, UnitedHealth.

As you may be aware, state retirees’ benefits are managed by the Public Employees Benefits Board (PEBB), and insurance premiums are deducted from my state pension.

Everything worked fine for me until PEBB ended its contract with Secure Horizons. I had to choose another health plan, and the only one which would offer Medicare Advantage coverage was Group Health Cooperative. So I now get my health care at Group Health facilities. It’s a good organization, and I’m getting good care… but eight miles from home at the Bellevue main facility and six miles away at the Redmond clinic, instead of next-door.

However, just 2-1/2 months under the new arrangement (but before I was established with a primary care doctor), I fell at home and injured my thigh. In great pain, it was a struggle for me to reach a phone to call 9-1-1 for help and a neighbor with an extra key for my condo to let the medics in. They asked me who my insurer was, and put me on a stretcher and into the medic van. I had to go eight miles into Bellevue to Urgent Care at Group Health, rather than next-door to EvergreenHealth. The medics dropped me off, and I had to wait for X-rays. By the time the X-ray was read, indicating no bone fractures, and I could be discharged, I had been given narcotics for my pain and could not take a taxi home alone. I was unable to reach my daughter in Seattle by phone, and my 86-year-old neighbor didn’t drive after dark, so I had no way to get home. Never mind that I could not manage the entryway stairs without assistance! My condition did not make it possible for me to stay overnight in the hospital. It took some pleading with the Urgent Care staff, but finally they allowed me to sleep there until morning when my neighbor could drive me home. I was trapped at home for three weeks, while (very competent) Group Health aides helped me to manage with showering and restoring my ability to walk somewhat normally, including up and down stairs.

With universal, single-payer health care, I could simply have been taken to the nearest emergency room at EvergreenHealth. My neighbor could have driven one mile after dark to pick me up.

When insurers make our health care decisions for us–where to get care and from whom–unnecessary cost and effort can be incurred.

So much for my careful consideration of choosing a new home in the vicinity of a hospital and thriving medical community! And, yes, I continue to pay real estate taxes which support EvergreenHealth’s expansion, and I vote for its management and development, rather than for GroupHealth, since it is in my hospital district. Go figure!