The abysmal health care plan recklessly rammed through the House by the GOP was a hard pill to swallow.
But there’s ample reason not to despair.
This is only one small battle in the larger war we’re waging against the Republican administration’s gutting of our democracy. The bill still has to pass the Senate–which, within hours of the vote, had already promised to scrap it entirely and start over. If it passes, that bill will then have to once again pass in the House in its new form…and then be approved again by both houses. That’s a long road, with opposition at every step from us and an increasingly angry electorate that shows steadily growing approval of the existing Affordable Care Act. In fact, despite the GOP’s rabid emphasis on “repeal and replace,” the Affordable Care Act is proving far more popular–on both sides of the aisle–than they may have expected, a recent poll shows. Far more popular than Donald’s own approval ratings, in fact–55% of Americans approve of Obamacare, versus an approval rating for Donny hovering around a paltry 40%. And a broad swath of doctors, hospitals, and insurers have condemned the TrumpCare plan.
That means this recent legislation is likely to be an unpopular decision with voters–especially once the Congressional Budget Office report comes out in the next weeks (because the GOP didn’t think it important to wait for it, though they insisted on it for the ACA). By then most House Republicans will be officially on the record as having voted for a plan that the CBO report is likely to show will cost millions their coverage, and this hasty, ill-considered forced vote is likely to backfire in Republicans’ faces.
How do you like them apples? Here’s more good news:
How Our Voices Made a Difference This Week:
For a guy who prides himself on his negotiating skills, Donald had to make so many concessions in his budget proposal to keep the government open that several news outlets assessed it as resembling “more of an Obama administration-era budget than a Trump one.” No border wall, half the military funding he promised, no EPA staff cuts and only a 1% budget hit to the department, and no defunding of Planned Parenthood were just some of the concessions Donny got out-negotiated into. In a statement the White House suggested that a government shut-down might be necessary if Democrats keep “mistreating” Donald and hurting his feelings. No, seriously.
Mark Green, Donald’s second nominee for army secretary, has withdrawn from consideration amid an avalanche of outcry against his Islamophobic, anti-LGBTQ words and actions in the past.
FOX News’s apparent culture of sexual harassment and racism faces yet another blow this week, when network copresident Bill Shine resigned amid yet another harassment scandal, this time for turning a willfully blind eye to complaints about sexual harassment and racism, and possibly helping to conceal it. And yet another lawsuit has been filed against the network, this time for gender bias, completing the network’s dubious trinity of sexual, racial, and gender discrimination.
When Donald’s administration launched the entirely unnecessary racist-propaganda VOICE hot line for people who were victimized by a crime by illegal immigrants, the Twitterverse put out a call and you marvelous people inundated the ridiculous, racist hot line with reports of extraterrestrials abusing Earthlings.
Here are this week’s action items:
1. Health Care
The GOP rammed a poorly vetted, incoherent, damaging health care plan through the House by a narrow 4-vote margin–despite some GOP senators admitting they didn’t even trouble themselves to read it. The third iteration of TrumpCare allows states to opt out of popular Obamacare provisions like preexisting conditions (which include cancer, diabetes, and arthritis), maternity coverage, mental-health coverage, emergency room visits, and prescription medicine; allows employers to end out-of-pocket caps, and will send rates skyrocketing, especially for those with health issues. But the GOP doesn’t seem especially troubled by that—people are free to move to another state, says NC senator Robert Pittenger cavalierly (it’s worth noting, BTW, that Congress has no such strictures on their coverage–Congress’s health plan will not opt out of any Obamacare coverage). And anyway, if you have health issues the GOP finally admits that’s your own problem and probably your own fault for not being one of those who “lead good lives,” according to a startlingly candid statement by Alabama Republican representative Mo Brooks (who, again, will retain full health care coverage in Congress).
Here’s an excellent comparison chart of TrumpCare versus the ACA. Here’s a list of who wins and who loses. Here are all the doctors, hospitals, insurers, and health organizations that oppose this shoddy health care plan; here’s what it will do to special education in schools.
We can fight this on several fronts.
The reckless, patchwork GOP health care plan passed in the House will cost millions of Americans their health care coverage, and will send rates skyrocketing. Will you oppose ANY health care repeal or change in the Senate until the proposed health care plan can be thoroughly vetted by the Congressional Budget Office, lawmakers and the public have ample time to review it, and it can be proven to be at least as good (re: coverage and cost) as the Affordable Care Act already in place?
- Find a town hall (or a mock town hall) in your district and speak up about how this proposed health care will hurt you and your family personally, and how you have benefited from the ACA. These stories make a difference. Indivisible has a wonderful guide for how to make your voice heard at a town hall.
- Send a letter (see suggested text below) via free FaxZero to your senators.
- For more ideas and excellent tips, check out Indivisible’s comprehensive guide to stopping TrumpCare.
- Paul Ryan, main engine of the appalling plan, has apparently gone dark on constituents, refusing calls, turning off his faxes, and literally turning away voters bearing petitions, not even accepting them. So someone had the bright idea of sending postcards to his home address–as a public servant, it seems he certainly deserves to know the public reaction to his legislation. Here’s the address–drop a postcard in the mail and let’s see if he can ignore millions of them in his driveway: Paul Ryan, 700 St. Lawrence Ave, Janesville, WI 53545.
2. Deregulating Wall Street
Lost amid the overt outrage over Republicans’ destructive health care legislation to benefit the wealthy is another disturbing effort by the GOP to create further opportunities for the rich (notably Donald’s cabinet of Wall Street billionaires) by deregulating the banking industry.
The “Financial Choice Act” repeals banking oversight legislation like Dodd Frank, which protects Americans from predatory lending that caused the 2008 mortgage crisis and subsequent recession. It eliminates the “Volcker Rule,” which prevents commercial banks from making certain speculative and risky trades (like the disastrous mortgage-backed securities). And it would gut the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau, which goes after big corporations that use “deceptive practices” with their customers (looking at YOU, Wells Fargo), and targets other financial regulatory agencies.
This irresponsible and potentially economically disastrous legislation passed the House committee last week and is now headed to a House vote. We need to stop it.
I’m calling to express my opposition to H.R. 10, the Financial CHOICE Act of 2017, which would undermine the crucial consumer protections provided by the Dodd-Frank Act. As the 2008 recession illustrated, the banking industry must be carefully regulated to protect consumers from risky lending practices and corporate greed.
[Thanks to the wonderful site 5Calls for this verbiage]
With new evidence being uncovered seemingly daily, like Donald’s son-in-law Jared Kushner failing to reveal his personal shareholding stakes in major finance and technology companies that he directly benefits from as he helps set White House policy for those industries–it’s more important than ever that Congress dedicate adequate, real resources toward uncovering the full scope of the illegal actions of Donald’s administration concerning our greatest adversary.
The congressional investigations into alleged Republican collusion with Russia are inadequate to provide the thorough investigation we need in this grave matter of national security, understaffed, blockaded by the White House, and stalled with partisan positioning. Will [Senator X/Rep Y] publicly call for a special independent investigation similar to what we have had for other key security concerns like 9/11, as well as a special prosecutor?
This article is one of the best I’ve read about the collective anger, sorrow, and depression many of us are feeling as a result of this administration’s hate-driven politics, and its devotees. Solid, practical suggestions for how to accept and move through the difficult emotions of our current world order, and effect change. (It’s probably not what you think!)
This fabulous writer keeps a staggeringly thorough list each week of every illegal, unethical, authoritarian action taken by Donald and his administration, because “experts in authoritarianism advise to keep a list of things subtly changing around you.” An impressive (and disturbing) resource.
This constantly updated fact checker keeps track of every false or misleading claim made by Donald. At current count it’s nearing 500.
This excellent tax plan interactive lays out how Donald’s proposed “tax reform” (or nebulous and vague one-page memo, as it actually is) might affect you.
This was one of those tough weeks where we have to amp up our self-care and our support networks, and stay strong and in the fight. Despite losing battles like the House health care vote, where the war is concerned we are making steady progress and we will win.
Health Care Letter
Good afternoon, Senator X.
The haste with which health care legislation was rammed through the House is highly concerning—as is the reckless, patchwork approach to the plan. I’m appalled that the House passed a health care bill that will hurt so many Americans, and I’m writing as a constituent to ask you to strongly oppose ANY health care repeal or change in the Senate until the latest proposed health care plan can be thoroughly vetted by the Congressional Budget Office, Congress has ample time to review it, and it can be proven to be at least as good (RE; coverage and cost) as the Affordable Care Act already in place.
Currently under the GOP’s proposed plan, we still see 24 million Americans losing coverage within a decade, and this hasty third iteration of TrumpCare allows states to opt out of popular ACA provisions like preexisting conditions, maternity coverage, emergency room visits, and prescription medicine, and will send rates for those with health issues skyrocketing. The principle of insurance is that it spreads risk around to offer affordable coverage to everyone. Surely the United States can offer its citizens meaningful health care that does so, like so many other countries already do for their citizens–as Donald Trump pointed out minutes after this legislation passed the House, Australia, which has government-run universal health care coverage “has better insurance than we do.”
Will you vote NO on any health care repeal or replacement until a solution at least as good as what we have can be proposed and thoroughly vetted?