Our health care is under attack. Yes, the ACA is far from perfect. But to repeal it and hastily replace it with the AHCA is dangerous. People will lose coverage. People won’t be able to afford treatment/medication. People will die as a result of this action. I am not being hyperbolic nor am I being histrionic. This is the fact of the matter. The GOP wants so badly to roll back everything that Obama accomplished they are willing to literally play with people’s lives. WE CANNOT LET THIS HAPPEN. So we must unite. We must cry out. We must let our voices be heard. This weekly series aims to a) help us stay informed on the events unfolding in America and b) urge readers to add their voice to the chorus calling out for justice. We must be aware. We must be vocal. We must be active. We must be loving. This is how we will triumph and how we will transform our lives, our nation, and our world.
The more I see the GOP’s spite-Obama-at-all-costs mentality pushed at the expense of the American people the more I’ve been hearing this song in my head. Released as part of John Lennon’s album Imagine, “How Do You Sleep?” was his scathing indictment of Paul McCartney in the immediate wake of the Beatles breaking up. However, it seems more than fitting to direct at the GOP today. Surrounded by people who tell them they’re right? Check. The fact that we will all eventually see what they can/will do? Check. And of course, the ringing chorus asking again and again…how do you sleep??
What frustrates me the most is the GOP abandoning any pretense of the values they once stood for. Republicans like to reference their being “the party of Lincoln.” Sure, he fought to free the slaves and they are backing a president whose fanning the fires of racism in our country. Reagan fought to end the Cold War…while Republicans today turn a blind eye towards Russian atrocities and potential tampering with our very democracy. Teddy Roosevelt fought to create the National Parks…now Republicans want to terminate the EPA. And the health care plan they are so desperate to repeal was the plan first outlined by Nixon and then championed and fine tuned by Mitt Romney.
Here’s what’s coming up that we need to talk to our representatives about or call/email/mail other people in government/power. Note, whenever possible, have the bill number of the issue you’re calling about ready to share with the staffer who answers the phone.
1) HR 370 Repeal Affordable Care Act – Okay, so here’s the deal. Republicans hate the Affordable Care Act (ACA) because Obama was a part of it. In a rush to win this pissing contest and repeal it as soon as possible, they are championing the American Health Care Act (AHCA). This plan isn’t just an ineffective replacement but a dangerous one. It has already flown through two House subcommittees and is expected to be before a vote of the whole House as soon as next week.
We cannot wait on this!!! We have to call our reps and call often!!! If we don’t, people will die. Here is the Commonwealth Fund’s (an independent health care/social issues research foundation) detailed explanation of how millions will lose coverage. Those in the medical community – including the American Medical Association and seven hospital groups including the American Hospital Association, America’s Essential Hospitals and the Catholic Health Association of the United States – oppose the AHCA as well.
As a result of the AHCA, Medicaid will be gutted. This means seniors are in very real danger of losing coverage should the ACA be replaced with the AHCA, as the AARP has warned them. Also, nearly eight million people who use Medicaid to get support for mental health issues (as well as the 10.4 million who get help for substance abuse) will lose their coverage. According to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO)’s bi-partisan report, if the AHCA passes and the ACA is repealed 24 million people will lose coverage. There is no way to defend this morally. Millions will lose coverage, including those battling mental illness, addiction, and the poor and elderly will suffer the most.
This fight is important. We cannot let this happen. We can’t! As Type One Diabetic who has been denied coverage in the past and who has gotten coverage with premiums he couldn’t afford in the days before the ACA, I personally know how dangerous this is. PLEASE CALL YOUR REPS AND CALL OFTEN. We also have to be sure to call our Senators as well. A lot of shady, dangerous things have been occurring since Trump took office – this is perhaps the most immediately dangerous yet. We need to cry out. Every single voice counts. Please, please, please, please…call your representative. Call your senators. Call them often. Call everyone you know and ask them to call too.
I know I normally list a bunch of different issues here but this is too important. I’m choosing to focus exclusively on health care in this section this week. Please feel free to go back to last week’s post if you’d like a list of other important bills being voted on. Or (have I recommended this yet?) you should download the app “Countable.” It’s a brilliant little tool to keep track of Congress and message your reps/senators. While it can never be as powerful as a phone call, it’s still nice to let them know your opinion in as many avenues as possible!
You know what? Let’s let John Oliver explain the horrible danger of the AHCA to us with a bit more detail. Not only is he (and Stephen Colbert and Samantha Bee and Trevor Noah) doing the most incisive journalism at present, he also offers the bleak reality with a little humor. We all need that.
On that note, here’s Stephen Colbert discussing other facets of the AHCA too.
These aren’t matters our reps will vote on directly but they are still important news we should be aware of:
1) Far too often people claim that poverty is a result of laziness or those on welfare are simply milking the system. That’s a dangerous fallacy used to further justify a broken system that oppresses the many for the needs of a few. Rather, people are poor as a result of systemic injustice. This succinct and detailed piece outlines those fallacies and the real reasons people are trapped in poverty.
2) “ThinkProgress checked in with scholars on authoritarianism to see how [the Trump administration’s] agenda [is] taking shape. For people who have devoted their lives to studying anti-democratic movements, recent White House actions are more disturbing than ever.”
3) Continuing with the exploration of how Trump’s rhetoric and the actions, policies, and rhetoric of his administration is fuelling hatred in our country, the March 4 Trump in Phoenix, AZ saw cries for a “liberal genocide” and calls to deport all Muslims and Jewish people from the United States. My heart ached as I read the piece…especially the part about a thirteen-year-old girl chanting for Jewish people to leave. To indoctrinate our youth with such hate…I don’t have the words to express my sadness…
1) Here’s a thoughtful post written by a man who was frustrated by his friends and family who voted for Trump saying he needed to suck it up as they “suffered under Obama for eight years.” This is his written response outlining how a) while he didn’t approve of everything Obama did he was still proud of his work and b) all the good Obama managed to accomplish during his eight years. It also boldly asks the question…how exactly did any of this make his friends and family suffer?
2) Ethnographic studies have been exploring the reality that racism has in fact helped the GOP win races. The studies also provides an interesting look at how racism develops over generations and how it can shape communities, consciously or unconsciously.
Now I turn to my faith, Jesus, scripture, and those who have followed those messages best to remind myself why I fight, how I fight, and who I fight for:
Given my frustration, anger, and fear this week over the health care situation, I’m turning to prayer once more. This week I’m using the Prayer of (attributed to) Saint Francis:
Lord, make me an instrument of your peace:
where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
where there is sadness, joy.
O divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
to be consoled as to console,
to be understood as to understand,
to be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive,
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.
The battle for justice is only just beginning. Join the Resistance! Give it all you have! I encourage anyone interested in helping speak out about and challenge the injustices growing around us to do so. If you’d like, reach out to me in the comments and/or message me on Twitter. You’re certainly welcome to send me news you’d like to see included! I am only one person and, as such, have a finite ability to track these things. If you happen to be a blogger or vlogger yourself, you’re also welcome to take what I post in these weekly calls to action and share it on your own site too if you feel so called. But, most of all, I hope you’ll take advantage of the direct link that is in this post and all the posts to follow to call – and keep calling – your representatives. Democracy works if we participate. Love will triumph if we have faith. We can’t give up our belief in those principles or we’ve already lost the struggle.
To contrast the angry note I began the post with in Lennon’s “How Do You Sleep?” here’s his classic organizational anthem “Power To The People.” Every word was true in the 70’s and it’s true now. We have the power. If we unite, if we organize, we can make the government serve us as it was designed too. Together nothing can stop us. So, please, in the name of all those who will suffer if the ACA is repealed and the AHCA is put in its place, call your representatives daily. Visit their offices if you can. Let them know this isn’t okay. Human lives are worth infinitely more than scoring political points. Health care is a fundamental human right. We have to unite our voices and cry out, now more than we have so far. We cannot afford to be apathetic. People are counting on us.