CALL TO ACTION!! PROTECT MEDICAID AT THE SUPERCOMMITTEE LEVEL
Tasked with finding a minimum of $1.2 trillion to help close the deficit, the Super Committee of the United States Congress is approaching their deadline of Wednesday, November 23rd to finalize a deal. Predictably, the committee is deadlocked over new revenues and tax increases on the wealthy. What is going unnoticed by many is the looming threat to entitlement programs such as Medicaid and Medicare in the form of cuts. One proposal, the “compromise” put forth by Erskine Bowles, would include $600 billion in cuts to Medicaid and Medicare. According to the nonpartisan Center for Budget and Policy Priorities, this “compromise” goes much further than even House Speaker John Boehner’s original proposal by, among other things, raising the Medicare eligibility level to age 67. Bowles claims these individuals would be covered through the premium subsidies included in the ACA (federal health reform). Not necessarily, say the analysts at CBPP; depending on how the Supreme Court rules in 2012 or on results from the 2012 election, this could be a risky proposition for the older Americans who rely on Medicare for their care. By shifting costs to other parts of the health care system, the Bowles plan merely adds to the total burden that health care places on the economy (Click here and here for details).
NOW IS THE TIME TO ACT. These proposed cuts are not yet law—it is not too late to talk to your representatives to tell them these cuts are unacceptable. Families USA is hosting call-in days from November 15-17 urging people across the country to tell members of Congress, ”Don’t cut Medicaid!”
Please feel free to use Families USA’s toll-free number to the capital switchboard: 1-866-922-4970.
Message to Congress:
Urge all members of Congress to reject any cuts to Medicaid. As the super committee considers how to reduce the nation’s deficit, send the message that any final deficit reduction package must be balanced and include significant revenue increases. Click here for additional talking points that might help you shape your message.
Staff/Chief of Staff
Hatch, Orrin [R-UT]
|Hayden Rhudy (new! replaced Patty deLoatche) /
Local Chief of Staff: Melanie Bowen
DC main #: (202) 224-5251
Lee, Mike [R-UT]
|Greg Sutherland, Leg. Assistant/
Ellen James, scheduler
|DC main #: (202) 224-5444|
|Utah – 1st||Rep.
Bishop, Rob [R-UT1]
|Wayne Bradshaw, Leg. Assistant||DC main #: (202) 225-0453
fax: (202) 225-5857
|Utah – 2nd||Rep.
Matheson, Jim [D-UT2]
|Joel Bailey (new as of 11/10/11!
replaced Shana Beavin)/
Meg Joseph Chief of staff
|DC main #: (202) 225-3011
DC Fax: (202) 225-5638
Toll free: (877) 677-9743
|Utah – 3rd||Rep.
Chaffetz, Jason [R-UT3]
|Mike Jerman, Chief of Staff||DC main #: (202) 225-7751
DC Fax: (202) 225-5629
Just because Utah does not have a seat on the Super ommittee, doesn’t mean that our delegation (Congressman Matheson mainly, who could be persuaded to weigh in with his Super Committee colleagues) shouldn’t be engaged on this issue. See helpful tips for
communicating with members of Congress.
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This week Kaiser Family Foundation released the results of a poll assessing Americans’ knowledge of and thoughts about the Affordable Care Act. The results show massive confusion over the health care reform law. The most surprising result is that, at this point, people are not even sure if the law stands or has been repealed–well, maybe not too surprising. There is a lot of misinformation circulating about the law, votes to repeal the law, promises to defund the law, and the various court challenges to the law’s constitutionality.
The Kaiser poll revealed that almost half of the country is unsure about whether the law stands: 22% of people polled think that the law has been repealed and 26% don’t know enough to say whether it stands or has been repealed. Fifty-two percent accurately reported that the ACA is the law of the land and has not been repealed. Approval of the bill remains split evenly down the middle, with people on both ends asking for repeal or asking for expansion of the law. Of those polled, an impressive 61%disapprove of the plan to defund the law. The main reason given for disapproval of defunding is that using the budget process to stop a law is not the way government should work.
Take away lesson from the poll: Help educate your friends, families, co-workers and neighbors!!! The Affordable Care Act is the law of the land—let’s move forward together! Just because it’s not perfect, does not mean it should be repealed but rather that it should be improved upon in future years. No country that has undertaken comprehensive health system reform got it right the first time.
Where does all this confusion stem from? As mentioned above, there is a lot of misinformation circulating about the law, votes to repeal the law, promises to defund the law, and the various court cases about the constitutionality about the law. Let’s try to clear this up once and for all.
- The Affordable Care Act is the law of the land. It has not been repealed.
- Congress has already weighed in on a proposal to repeal the ACA. Just as expected, the House voted in favor of repeal (not Congressman Matheson! J ), and then the Senate voted against.
- The federal government is in the process of compiling the nation’s budget. Some members of Congress have seen this as a venue to defund the ACA. This approach will harm Americans and the health care system. We agree with the majority of people polled by Kaiser that the budget process is an inappropriate way to nullify a law. If the law cannot be repealed through legitimate votes, then it should move forward. AND IT WILL.
- Court Score: The ACA has faced 17 court challenges with the promise of many more. So far the score is 15 to 2 in favor of the law: 12 courts have dismissed cases without merit, 3 courts have found the Affordable Care Act constitutional, and only 2 have ruled it unconstitutional. The most recent case was ruled on this week– Tracy Schmaler from the Dept of Justice issued the following statement:
“We welcome this ruling, which marks the third time a court has reviewed the Affordable Care Act on the merits and upheld it as constitutional. This court found – as two others have previously — that the minimum coverage provision of the statute was a reasonable measure for Congress to take in reforming our health care system. At the same time, trial courts in additional cases have dismissed numerous challenges to this law on jurisdictional and other grounds. The Department will continue to vigorously defend this law in ongoing litigation.”
To help states maintain their Medicaid programs and avoid laying off teachers, last week the U.S. House of Representatives passed legislation extending the enhanced federal match states have received for Medicaid through July 2011 and provided additional funds. For Utah this means the federal government will resume paying 80% of the cost of Medicaid vs. the normal match of 72%. This increase will provide an additional $57 million in federal Medicaid funds to the state. With Utah Medicaid rolls growing by 75,000 individuals since the beginning of the recession, this is much needed relief.
Please thank Congressman Jim Matheson for helping pass this critical support for states. Congressman Matheson can be reached by calling 1 (877) 677-9743 or visiting https://forms.house.gov/matheson/contact.shtml
To make the most of this federal investment however, the state should use a portion of the funds to jump start family planning services for low-income families, a proven tool that will bring significant and ongoing savings. By spending $778,600 today to provide family planning services to families earning less than 133% of poverty (the income threshold for the state’s Baby Your Baby Program) the state will save an estimated $830,100 every year through a reduction in unwanted pregnancies and improved health outcomes.
This is it. Yesterday (Sunday) House Democrats released their final reconciliation package (for details or to read the 2,300-page bill, click here). AT LAST, we are in the final act, but before the curtain closes, we need you to do 1 thing:
Please, please take a minute to call Congressman Matheson right now and ask him to vote YES on the final health reform package. This week, Congressman Matheson will be voting again on federal health reform. We need each and every pro-reform voice, starting with yours, to speak out loud and clear. This is not the time to suppose someone else will make the call. Please pick up the phone NOW.
You can reach him toll-free in D.C. at 1-866-279-5474. Tell him you want to Get It Done!
Salt Lake: (801) 486-1236
St. George: (435) 627-0880
Email him through his website
While the rest of our Congressional delegation has made their position clear, Congressman Matheson is still undecided. This means he really needs to hear from you that you will stand beside him if he chooses to vote YES.
Make sure you say:
- Please vote YES on the final reform package
- why YOU support reform—is your coverage becoming more and more unaffordable? Have you been denied coverage because of a pre-existing condition?
- The status quo is unsustainable, and health reform is the right thing to do
Even if you have called before, you need to call again. The curtain is falling on this historic opportunity, and now more than ever you need to make your voice heard. Every last vote, starting with Congressman Matheson’s, will be needed to get health reform across the finish line.
- 2013 ACA Accountable Care accountable care organization advocacy affordability budget CHIP Congressman Matheson constitutionality cost containment Exchange Executive Approps Governor Herbert grassroots Health Equity Health Reform Taskforce HHS Approps high risk pool ICHIA Implementation Station interim legislative session legislature medicaid medicaid expansion medicaid reform mediciad budget cuts mental health MHN monthly meeting National Health Reform navigators optional services pregnant women Quality Watch state health reform Take Care Utah U-SHARE uninsured Utah Business Group on Health Utah Health Exchange Utah Medicaid Partnership Utah Premium Partnership (UPP) utah small businesses