Women’s History Month Rally Held In Annapolis

Consumer Health First was proud to support Women's History Month with a rally in Annapolis on Saturday  organized by Action Not Anger, and co-sponsored by:

The rally was a celebration and recognition of issues important to women, our families, and our communities. US Senator Chris Van Hollen, Congressmen Jamie RaskinJohn Sarbanes, and Consumer Health First President, Leni Preston, were among the speakers.

(L-R): Consumer Health First President, Leni Preston; Action Not Anger, Yvette Lewis; US Senator Chris Van Hollen

For local CBS coverage of the story with video  - click here.

Without Enough Votes, The American Health Care Act Is Pulled from House Vote

After moving from "take it or leave it" to multiple rounds of amendments, the House GOP failed to garner the votes needed to pass the American Health Care Act. At a 4:00 p.m. press conference, Speaker Paul Ryan announced that the bill had been pulled. 

Today's outcome is cause for celebration and a recognition that the efforts of advocates around the country and in Maryland had a positive impact. But this issue is not going away and we must not let down our guard. 

What's Next?

  • We will continue to track all proposals coming out of the Administration or Congress that could imperil the advances we have made in Maryland. 
  • We remain extremely concerned about the potential gutting of Medicaid through separate legislation and will continue our vigilance in protecting this critical safety net program. 
  • We will continue to work closely with our partners in both the public and private sectors to ensure that ALL Maryland health care consumers are protected and have the health care they deserve.

What Can You Do?

Donate Now

  • We need your help now more than ever to work towards reforms that strengthen and improve the ACA. Please consider a donation to this critical work.
  • Stay informed - sign up for our updates and join us for a webinar on the impact of the AHCA or similar legislation next Wednesday (see below). Even though the bill was pulled today - we'll review the key things to watch for and their potential impact here in Maryland.
  • Share your story - How has the ACA impacted your life? We often have elected officials contact us for consumer stories.
  • Contact us if you need help organizing an event or want a speaker.
  • Keep us informed of relevant events in your community or issues of particular concern.
  • Speak Out! - Attend the rally this weekend to let your voice be heard - see details below.

Vote on AHCA delayed, then cancelled, now postponed... at least for now.

In a day that could have been scripted from a Hollywood thriller at times, the House GOP struggled in vain to get enough votes within its own ranks to pass the American Health Care Act. 

After late night meetings in the House Rules Committee last night, and closed door meetings with the President and every senior leader at the White House today, Speaker Ryan announced that the vote was cancelled for the day. Instead, a full House meeting will convene behind closed doors this evening to try and hammer out their differences in the hopes of holding a vote tomorrow.

And if that weren't enough bad news for Speaker Ryan, the Congressional Budget Office issued a letter with new budget scores based on the Management Amendments made to the bill on Monday. The bottom line is that the amended bill manages to spend an additional $200 billion, reduces the deficit savings by $150 billion, and doesn't cover a single additional person from the 24 million uninsured originally projected.

Want to make some sense of it all? Join us for a webinar next Wednesday, March 29th, from 9:00 - 10:00 a.m., and we'll discuss the ACA vs the AHCA and it's potential impact on Maryland. You can get more information and register for the free event here.

And for information on WHO the proposed bill might affect in Maryland, and how, Consumer Health First and Disability Rights Maryland teamed up to write an Op/Ed piece that was published in the Baltimore Sun today. 

Stay tuned...

Maryland Congressmen Call on Governor Hogan to Oppose the AHCA

US Congressmen, Elijah Cummings, Jamie Raskin, John Sarbanes, and Steny Hoyer, along with MD House Speaker, Mike Busch, held a press conference this morning and urged the public to reach out to Governor Hogan and to ask him to publicly oppose the passage of the AHCA. The speakers all made the point that this is not a partisan issue, it is an issue that affects all Marylanders.

Rep. Hoyer noted that up to 390,000 Marylanders may lose their health coverage as a result of the legislation being proposed. Maryland would also lose $1.4 billion in  Medicaid funding.

Rep. Raskin declared that the repeal and replacement of the ACA "is a public health emergency for Maryland." Representative Cummings stated that "It is our watch to pave the way for generations yet unborn," and that "Fighting for what we believe - health care as a human right - is not grandstanding."

L-R: Rep. Steny Hoyer, Rep. Elijah Cummings, Rep. John Sarbanes, and Rep. Jamie Raskin

L-R: Rep. Steny Hoyer, Rep. Elijah Cummings, Rep. John Sarbanes, and Rep. Jamie Raskin

Today's press conference was just one of a series of rallies this week. Please visit our Event Page to see other events this week - including a big rally on Saturday, March 25th - Amplifying Our Voices, which will feature Consumer Health First President, Leni Preston, as one of its speakers.

Millions Would Lose Health Coverage Under the GOP Sponsored American Health Care Act

"Coverage matters when it comes to preventing disease and ensuring health and well-being. Unfortunately, this bill, as written, will result in more people losing coverage they desperately need. ... We know that the absence of health insurance translates into premature death for many."

Dr. Georges C. Benjamin, Executive Director of the American Public Health Association

On Monday, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) released the much anticipated scoring and analysis  of the proposed American Health Care Act and the news was every bit as bad as anticipated. Here are just a few of the key take away points, and links to more in-depth analyses:

  • 14 million people would lose their health insurance in the first year. According to Dan Diamond at Politico, it would mean that President Trump would oversee the largest one-year jump in the rate of uninsured Americans in history.

    • 6 million in the non-group market;
    • roughly 5 million under Medicaid;
    • about 2 million with employment-based coverage.  
  • By 2026, the number of uninsured would grow to 24 million due to:
    • Effectively ending the Medicaid expansion and $880 billion in cuts to Medicaid spending over the next decade, would put at risk our most vulnerable individuals - disabled, seniors and children.  
    • Decline in employment-based coverage because fewer employees would take up the offer of such coverage in the absence of the individual mandate penalties.
    • There will be older individuals who will no longer be able to afford coverage due to rising premiums and declining credits in the individual market.
  • Older individuals would pay up to 5 times what younger people pay for the same coverage. Currently, the ratio is 3:1. According to Vox.com, a low-income 64-year-old could see his or her premiums go up by as much as 750%.
  • These cuts result in only $337 billion in savings to the federal deficit over 10 years, because the bill provides over $600 billion in tax cuts to the wealthy and to corporations.
  • The CBO estimate of 24 million losing coverage is well below that cited in an internal White House document as reported by Paul Demko in Politico.

It is now clear that the AHCA does almost none of the things promised. It drives up, not down, the rate of the uninsured and it does nothing to improve quality.  Any promise to lower costs is undercut by the fact that it does so by raising premiums on older and poorer Americans, who will then lose their coverage. The cut of $880 billion from Medicaid and slashing of prevention funding will leave states holding the bag. In fact, the AHCA will mean that individuals will suffer both with their health and their finances in order to provide huge tax breaks to wealthy families and corporations. This is unacceptable.

Jeananne Sciabarra, Executive Director, Consumer Health First

 Let's work together to make sure that Maryland keeps moving forward on the path to health equity. Go to our "Call To Action" page for specific actions you can take TODAY to help defeat these bills, and download our fact sheet and information card to share with colleagues, friends, and neighbors.