On May 4, the House of Representatives took a momentous step forward in accomplishing the GOP's plan to repeal and replace Obamacare. The House passed the American Health Care Act (AHCA) in its second iteration after altering some parts to get the ultra-conservative Freedom Caucus onboard. The next step is a Senate vote, which will likely change the bill even further. But until then, there are some creative ways to prevent the AHCA's Senate passage.
One of the most contentious issues in the bill that passed the House has to do with the treatment of pre-existing conditions. Under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), or Obamacare, states are not allowed to deny people coverage for having pre-existing medical conditions. While the AHCA does not directly allow states to deny coverage, thanks to the MacArthur amendment, it does allow them to apply for a wavier to be able to charge people more to cover their pre-existing conditions, which would likely price some Americans out of health care coverage altogether.
Unfortunately, we do not yet know the full impact of the AHCA on Americans' health care because the House rushed the bill to a vote before the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) could release a score, and before a public discussion of the bill could occur. However, from what we've seen so far, the AHCA would certainly change health care in the country and likely make it harder for people to get and keep coverage. We also know that the majority of Americans want to keep Obamacare.
So, leading up to the Senate's eventual vote on and probable re-write of the AHCA, there are some things that you can do to prevent its passage.
1. Call Your Senator
The senators working on the Senate health care bill:— Dylan Scott (@dylanlscott) May 5, 2017
Calling both your state senators to have your opinion heard is the most obvious option, and still the most important one — especially if you have Republican senators, who need to hear from the people they are representing and how they would be affected by the new law.
2. Share Your Story
If you have a story about how Obamacare saved you or your family, now is the time to speak up about it. Luckily, there are so many different ways to do this. From sharing on social media to talking to your senators to telling your friends, co-workers, or acquaintances, every positive effect of the ACA is helpful for people to hear.
Think about it: if your co-worker has not experienced the ACA's affect in own life, they may not understand how essential it is to keep it for others. Sharing your story with them might allow them to see how important it is and encourage them convince their senators or other voters that it needs to stay. Or, to reach an even larger platform, use the hashtag #ObamacareHelpedMe to get your story out there.
3. Organize A Protest
Whether it's at your state house or another public space in your city, a great way to visibly show dissent is to get out there and protest. Make signs arguing how the AHCA will hurt you and those around you, and get to the streets to talk to residents and government employees about what they can do to help defeat the bill.
4. Pledge Support To The Opposition
In 2018, some members of Congress will be up for re-election. Those that support the AHCA need to recognize that their seat may well be challenged because of their vote. Find out if your senator is up for re-election next year and who their opponent is to figure out if you should donate to their campaign or talk to them about why voting for the AHCA is a bad idea.
5. Attend Events With Your Senators
Find out when your senators will be in the area, and if they have any scheduled events, town halls, and public meetings. The best thing you can do when your senator is in town is to show up and make your voice heard in person. Talking with them and asking them questions pertaining to your health care coverage will let them know where you stand.
Anything you can do to join the fight against the AHCA's passage in the Senate is crucial. The Senate vote may be weeks or months away, but working to block the bill's passage needs to start now.