It's Not Over Yet...

With stunning speed on Monday night, the GOP's plans to both repeal and replace the ACA, followed by a Hail Mary Pass to simply repeal it, both quickly died in the face of opposition from key Senators with only the slimmest of 3 votes to spare.

First, the votes weren't there to either debate or pass the BCRA. Senators Susan Collins of Maine and Rand Paul of Kentucky were the first to oppose the bill and then late Monday night two more Senators, Mike Lee of Utah and Jerry Moran of Kansas, withdrew their support

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell quickly moved to get a full repeal bill in place, but that idea was dismissed by Senators Susan Collins (R-ME), Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), who declared that they would vote "no" on a motion to proceed on any bill that did not provide a replacement. 

The New York Times examines the failure of the bill, the ongoing divisions within the party, and a President who simply isn't engaged.

    What will happen next? After meeting with President Trump this afternoon at a luncheon at the White House, Majority Leader McConnell insists they are going forward with a procedural motion early next week to vote on moving the full repeal bill forward.

    Where do we go from here? It's anyone's guess, but it's likely that the Congressional GOPs will continue to try and attack Medicaid and other ACA programs through tax and spending cuts, and it's unclear whether they will attempt to shore up the markets and subsidies needed to keep the ACA going. President Trump has publicly washed his hands of it for now, but an Op-Ed in today's Baltimore Sun suggests a way forward.

    We'll do our best to keep you informed, and more importantly, make you aware of how these decisions will impact the state of Maryland.

    Facts and Figures Regarding the Real Impact of the Senate Health Bill on Maryland

    The Senate's Better Care Reconciliation Act (BCRA) would have devastating consequences for Marylanders, with hundreds of thousands losing coverage because of the deep cuts to Medicaid and the premium increases and tax credit cuts for individual market plans.

    By 2022, the uninsured rate among non-elderly adults is projected to rise to 21%, and the rate of uninsured children is expected to more than quadruple. In addition, the premiums in the individual market, coupled with smaller subsidies for older individuals, will create unaffordable costs for many.

    Pulling together data from several sources, Consumer Health First has created some resources to help quantify the impact of the BCRA on Marylanders:

    • AHCA and BCRA Impact in Maryland - outlines how the AHCA and BCRA would affect Marylanders with Medicaid, Medicare, individual market insurance, and those with substance use disorders, as well as the impact on Maryland's hospitals and economy.

    Other groups have also created resources that look at the impact on our state:

    • Impact of the Prevention and Public Health Fund in Maryland - Published by the Senate Health, Education, Labor & Pensions Committee Democrats & House Committee on Energy and Commerce Democrats, this report shows that Maryland received more than $16 million from the Prevention and Public Health Fund in FY16. If repealed, Maryland will lose $84 million over a five-year period.

    What does all of this analysis tell us? The AHCA and BCRA are bad for Maryland and bad for the country. Share this information widely and be prepared to raise your voices again next week when Congress is back in session!

    Amazon Prime Day! Support Consumer Health First While You Shop!

    Amazon Prime - are you a member? Don't miss this great opportunity to take advantage of special deals and support Consumer Health First. Shop deals until 12:00 p.m. (midnight) ET tonight! Click here to shop now!

    Or make a DONATION NOW! We at Consumer Health First are totally committed to our efforts to address the constant attacks on the ACA, which provides critical access to coverage and care and establishes essential consumer protections. This work is consuming all of our time and resources. We look to you, our partners, to help fund this important work. Thank you!

    Transitions at Consumer Health First

    To our many members, friends, and partners:

    It is with great regret that we announce that our wonderful Executive Director, Jeananne Sciabarra, will be leaving us effective August 15.

    We are grateful to have had her calm, steady and determined leadership to complete the first phase of Consumer Health First's nonprofit transformation. 

    We wish her much success in her future endeavors. (Read Jeananne's own letter here.)

    In anticipation of Jeananne's departure, we have begun the search process for a new executive director. More information about the position and the application process can be found here.

    We all know that we live in interesting times with both challenges and opportunities. At Consumer Health First, we will continue to collaborate with you and all stakeholders, and raise the voices of consumers to promote health equity through access to comprehensive, affordable, and high-quality health care for all. And, we will not stop until we get the job done!

    As always, please do not hesitate to contact me with any questions regarding our Executive Director search.

    Leni Preston, President

    leni@mdchcr.org Cell: 301.351.9381 @leni6306

    Harris urged to work toward ACA fix

    In a letter to the editor, which appeared in the Star Democrat late last week, Consumer Health First President, Leni Preston wrote:

    As Congress moves forward with legislation that will lead to hundreds of thousands of Marylanders losing access to affordable health insurance and care, the lone prominent supporter in the state is Rep. Andy Harris.

    As a physician, Rep. Harris should appreciate how people without insurance struggle to get the care they need. Instead, he supported the House bill that will lead to an estimated 23 million fewer Americans having health insurance. And he has shown no empathy for the people who will lose their coverage, including many who live in his 1st Congressional District.

    In recent comments to the Baltimore Sun, he cited the national debt and deficit as reasons to drastically reduce health insurance coverage. But the legislation moving through Congress will not bring down the deficit — in large measure because it includes an enormous tax cut for the wealthiest Americans.

    And another round of tax cuts is on the agenda later this year. We will watch avidly to see if Rep. Harris’ concern about the deficit leads him to oppose those tax cuts.

    We urge Rep. Harris to take a fresh look at the human cost of the bill he supported. Rather than a partisan move to undo the Affordable Care Act, let’s work on a plan to fix the parts of the law that need it and preserve insurance for many of our friends and neighbors on the Eastern Shore.

    Vote on Healthcare Bill Delayed!

    Today Majority Leader Mitch McConnell was forced to pull the bill from consideration while he continues to work to get the necessary votes. Assuming he is successful, he plans tobring it to the floor after the 4th of July recess.  Read the statement from Consumer Health First President, Leni Prestonhere. 

    Talks broke down yesterday afternoon after a closed door Senate luncheon. President Trump and Vice-President Pence hosted GOP Senators at the White House at 4:00 PM Tuesday afternoon to continue discussions.

    But this doesn't mean the fight is over - it's critical that advocates continue to raise their voices against this harmful bill. The most important thing Marylanders can do is to contact friends and family in other states to generate calls to Senate Republicans. Scroll down for more information.