As Zoë Carpenter wrote at The Nation, while much of the country’s attention was focused last week on former FBI director James Comey’s testimony, Senate Republicans were working “quickly and in secret” to repeal Obamacare.
Despite assertions by Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell that the GOP was unlikely to get to 50 votes on a replacement for the Affordable Care Act, previously skeptical Republicans have now said that they are likely to support the plan being laid out. Negotiations for the plan—which McConnell could bring up for a vote at any moment—have been so out of the public eye that they’ve inspired Senator Claire McCaskill to sound the alarm, stating, “We have no idea what’s being proposed. There’s a group of guys in a back room somewhere that are making these decisions.”
As Carpenter writes, “The Senate bill—whatever is in it—is not a done deal.” We still can, and must, fight to protect the gains of the ACA and demand that our country truly provide health care for all. Below are some ways you can join:
1. Call the Senate. We’re familiar with this routine by now, but that doesn’t mean we should let up. Keep calling your senators—if you can, call every day—and make sure that we’re flooding their phone lines with demands that they do not repeal the ACA, cut Medicaid, or otherwise leave more Americans without essential care. Call both the congressional hotline at (202) 224-3121 and your senators’ district offices, which you can find here.
2. Show Up at Town Halls, other constituent events, or your senators’ offices to make your demands. You can always find events at Town Hall Project. Be creative. If you can’t get to your senators directly (or even if you can), plan actions that are sure to grab the attention of the media. Indivisible has a die-in planning guide on their website that could get you started. You may also want to consider lending your support to ADAPT, a national grassroots community that organizes disability rights activists to engage in nonviolent direct action.
3. Share your story, particularly if you’ve benefited from the ACA and/or relied on Medicaid. The AHCA would lead to over $800 billion in cuts to Medicaid and Senate Republicans also look willing to gut the program. The Center for Public Representation, a legal advocacy group for people with disabilities, has set up a project called Faces of Medicaid to collect stories of people who have relied on the program. On their site, they have directions for e-mailing your story to your senators. You can also submit your story to their collection or tweet it using the hashtags #SaveMedicaid or #IamMedicaid.
4. Demand Medicare For All. As The Nation’s Editor and Publisher Katrina vanden Heuvel recently argued in her column for The Washington Post, as the nation turns its attention to health care, “Democrats would be wise to seize the moment, go on the offensive and rally around a bold alternative to the Republican Party’s backward vision.”
In other words, it’s time to demand Medicare for All. Get started by checking out National Nurses United’s Medicare For All guide, including directions for writing a letter to your local newspaper. You can also sign up to get involved in a Medicare for All Week of Action scheduled for the end this month.