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and she fears being able to fight cancer off if it resurfaces again and she is no longer covered because the ACA was repealed by Republicans and Trump.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.

Washington Uninsured Rates Among Lowest in the Nation with New Medicaid Options

health insuranceBefore new coverage options under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) rolled out in October of 2013, Washington CAN! mobilized to make sure the state accepted federal funds to cover low-income adults through Medicaid. Now, after two years of enrollment through the ACA, nearly 552,000 people are now covered by Medicaid, also known as Apple Health, and despite initial hiccups and stumbles with the online system our state had the fourth highest drop in the number of uninsured. Most people agree Washington’s efforts to close the coverage gap were incredibly successful.

Despite this evidence, Representative Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R), was determined to paint a different picture. She asked her Facebook followers to share negative stories to bash the Affordable Care Act (ACA). However, instead, her post received an overwhelming response from nearly 10,000 fierce defenders of the ACA. Many of their comments indicated that either they or family and friends benefit from the new health care options under the ACA, including Apple Health. It was heartening to see so many Washingtonians stand up for health care coverage and for their friends and neighbors.

At Washington CAN!, we know the thousands of positive comments on Representative McMorris Rodgers’ Facebook post represent the true benefit of covering more people. In our own outreach we heard similar things from people across our state. We heard from Sam, a University of Washington graduate student who told us that Apple Health has given her peace of mind as she finishes her degree and starts her job hunt. She was afraid of getting sick and having to choose between treating her illness and paying tuition. Now, she’s considering starting a family thanks to her Apple Health coverage.

We heard from Kristi Brown Wokoma, chef and owner of That Brown Girl Cooks, a small business. She and her husband were still paying the debt for a hospital stay to remove fibroids when another serious condition surfaced. They were covered by Medicaid because Washington accepted federal funds to cover more people through the program. Now they can take care of her medical challenges without losing ground financially. Wokoma is grateful her family is now covered.

As we see and hear about the importance of insurance coverage for people in our state, we know there is more work to do to make sure everyone has access to care. We organize with the idea that our members are a powerful representation of every consumer and encourage them to advocate for the best coverage possible.

At Washington CAN!, we believe the next step for Washington is universal single-payer health care. The Health Care is a Human Right movement, a two-year, grassroots campaign to give all Washington State residents access to quality affordable health care is underway. Two bills were introduced in the 2015 legislature and, because they heard from Washington CAN! members in their districts, 45 legislators were co-sponsors, an impressive number for a first-time bill. The campaign, built with a robust coalition, is off to a great start. So yes, Washington State has indeed benefitted from increased access to Medicaid and will continue to do so, but it’s only the beginning.