Missouri Senators Face a Stark Choice on Health Care

Statement from Jen Bersdale, Executive Director of Missouri Health Care for All, following today’s Senate Finance Committee hearing on the Graham-Cassidy-Heller-Johnson proposal

 “Today, the U.S. Senate Finance committee held a hearing on the Graham-Cassidy-Heller-Johnson (GCHJ) health care repeal plan. This plan is the most destructive one yet, and jeopardizes coverage for as many as 32 million Americans.

“Senate leaders are trying to rush the bill through before their September 30 deadline. That timeline means there will be no full score from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) on how the bill would impact coverage or premiums. It also means there is not enough time for elected officials to fully understand the impact of the bill on their constituents before they will be asked to vote on it. Advancing a bill under these circumstances is highly irresponsible.

“Even without a full CBO score, it is clear that GCHJ is even more destructive than the plans defeated earlier this year by Congress. As many as 32 million Americans could lose coverage, and those with pre-existing conditions would be back at the mercy of profit-seeking insurance companies in many states. In addition, this bill actually makes deep, permanent cuts to the Medicaid program that existed long before the Affordable Care Act. These cuts would leave states like Missouri no choice but to restrict access to health care for our most vulnerable neighbors, such as people with disabilities and children.

Dozens, if not hundreds, of health care experts at the local, state, and national levels have voiced their opposition to this plan, including physician, patient, consumer, and senior groups; hospitals; and a bipartisan group of governors. Insurance providers oppose the plan. Tens of thousands of Americans have called on their Senators to urge them to reject GCHJ.

“While the Senate Finance committee spent hours this afternoon debating GCHJ, the clock is ticking on funding critically important health care safety net programs. By the end of this week, Congress must vote to extend funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), to postpone delays to Disproportionate Share Hospital (DSH) funds that compensate hospitals for caring for the uninsured, and to renew funding for our community health centers. Nearly 87,000 Missouri children rely on the CHIP program for their coverage. Where is the Senate hearing on health care for our community’s children?

“One thing is clear: The U.S. Senate has a stark choice to make as they determine how to spend their time this week. Will they focus on rushing through a dangerous, unworkable, and deeply unpopular health care bill in order to claim they have delivered on partisan campaign promises? Or will they work together to extend funding for commonsense, bipartisan programs that provide care for millions?

“We call on Senator Blunt and Senator McCaskill to keep the best interests of Missourians in mind. They can do this by working together to extend funding for safety net programs by September 30, and by rejecting the Graham-Cassidy-Heller-Johnson repeal plan.”

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MHCFA is Hiring!

Missouri Health Care for All is hiring two new people to join our passionate and talented staff! Please spread the word to anyone you know who is interested in helping to advance quality, affordable health care for all Missourians.

Policy Director 

Missouri Health Care for All is seeking a full-time Policy Director, to be based in Jefferson City. Submit your application by October 20 for greatest consideration.

Full position description and application instructions can be found at the following link (will open a PDF document in a new window): MHCFA Policy Director Description

Southwest Missouri Organizer

Missouri Health Care for All is seeking a full-time Southwest Missouri Organizer, to be based in or near Joplin. Submit your application by October 10 for greatest consideration.

Full position description and application instructions can be found at the following link (will open a PDF document in a new window): MHCFA Joplin-SWMO Organizer Description

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Submit your testimony opposing Graham-Cassidy

The Senate Finance Committee will be holding a hearing on the Graham-Cassidy bill on Monday, September 25 at 1 pm Central Time. This bill would do tremendous damage to our health care system. We need to fill the hearing record with strong statements of opposition.

Please send letters, testimony, video links, photos, and stories illustrating why you oppose the Graham-Cassidy bill to GCHcomments@finance.senate.gov. Be sure to do so by 12:00 noon on Monday Central Time!

Once you’ve sent your message, please forward it to Jackie so we can track our impact!

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They’re at it again: ACA repeal bill gaining momentum

Congress spent months trying to repeal the Affordable Care Act and slash Medicaid funding. Those efforts failed because so many Americans recognized how destructive the bills were and called on their legislators to oppose them.
Unfortunately, the Senate is at it again with a last-ditch effort to gut our health care system. This bill, called the Cassidy-Graham bill, is gaining momentum. Please contact your Senators right away to tell them to OPPOSE on this proposal.
Four things you can do right now:
1. Take action and tell Senators Blunt and McCaskill to oppose the Cassidy-Graham bill.
2. Call Senator Blunt at (844) 857-2173. Tell him the Cassidy-Graham bill is bad for Missouri and you want him to vote no.
3. Call Senator McCaskill at (202) 224-6154. Thank her for standing strong on health care earlier this year and ask her to do anything she can to stopp the Cassidy-Graham bill.
4. Get your friends across the country to contact their Senators.
More about the Cassidy-Graham bill:
  • Cassidy-Graham is a last-ditch effort by Senators who want to repeal the Affordable Care Act and gut Medicaid.
  • This proposal contains the same dangerous provisions rejected by Congress and the American public earlier this year. And it’s being advanced through the same rushed, secretive process.
  • Just like previous repeal bills, Cassidy-Graham:
    • Eliminates coverage for millions
    • Makes massive cuts to Medicaid
    • Eliminates financial help for lower- and middle-income families
    • Guts protections for people with pre-existing conditions
    • Pushes health care costs onto states
  • There are several critically important health care decisions Congress needs to make by September 30, including extending funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program that covers nearly 87,000 Missouri kids. Congress should focus on bipartisan opportunities to protect and improve health care, and leave destructive proposals like Cassidy-Graham alone.

Please take action now!

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Home-Based and Community Services: Our Work Continues

September 14, 2017

On September 13, the Missouri General Assembly convened for the annual Veto Session. One of the bills that they were considering was HCB3, a bipartisan effort to save home-based and community services for 8,000 low-income people with disabilities and seniors. Governor Greitens vetoed the bill this summer. Since then, thousands of voters and consumers, including many Missouri Health Care for All supporters, have contacted their legislators urging them to restore these services.

If the cuts to services are allowed to take effect, 8,000 people could lose the services that allow them remain in their homes and out of institution-based care. In addition to the impact on Missourians’ quality of life, home-based services are far more cost effective than residential care.

This week, the Missouri House of Representatives failed to override the Governor’s veto of HCB3. However, there was a bright spot, as the leaders of the Senate and House announced a shared intention to find an alternate way to maintain these services. Speaker of the House Todd Richardson and Senate President Pro Tem Ron Richards tapped Rep. Scott Fitzpatrick and Sen. Mike Cunningham to come up with an alternate plan within the next few weeks.

Now is the time for Missourians across the state to keep up the grassroots pressure and speak out in support of services for some of our most vulnerable neighbors. Our elected officials have expressed a commitment to saving these services. We need to let them know that we are watching, and that we expect them to make good on their promise. Click here to take action.

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Missourians express hope and relief following defeat of Senate health care bill

For Immediate Release: July 28, 2017

Late Thursday night, the U.S. Senate voted 51-49 to defeat the third proposal to repeal parts of the Affordable Care Act. For now, Congressional efforts to advance legislation that dismantles the Affordable Care Act have failed.

Throughout the state, Missourians had been watching the debate closely, knowing that their health care and that of their loved ones was at stake.

Lucinda Cobb, whose daughter Laura receives care through a Health Insurance Marketplace plan for health conditions resulting from a collision with a drunk driver, was active in efforts to stop the bill. “Laura has made so much progress in the eight years since she was hit by a drunk driver at Washington University. The care she has received thanks the Affordable Care Act actually allowed her to finish her degree this year and secure a job. We’ve watched every step of this debate, knowing that a roll-back of the protections of the ACA would be devastating to her continued recovery. We will sleep more easily tonight knowing that health care for Americans with pre-existing conditions is safe for the moment.”

Lexi Amos, a Springfield mom whose two children rely on Medicaid, also expressed relief. “Medicaid keeps both my children healthy. It’s especially critical for my son, who has special needs. The care he gets through Medicaid helps him stay out of the hospital and in school. We’ve been very worried about what would happen to his care if Congress had passed a bill with huge cuts to Medicaid.”

Jen Bersdale, Executive Director of Missouri Health Care for All, credits the bill’s defeat to the many Americans who spoke out against it. “With Congressional leaders and a President committed to dismantling the Affordable Care Act, many people worried at the beginning of this year that there was nothing we could do to save our health care. This week, we proved once again that when ordinary people raise their voices, it makes a difference.”

Crystal Brigman Mahaney, Deputy Director of Missouri Health Care for All, notes that there will be more health care debates ahead. “Even as we celebrate the defeat of this health care bill, we know Congress is considering making deep cuts to Medicaid through its budget process. All those who care about access to health care should continue to speak up against cuts.”

Sarah Gentry, Policy Director of Missouri Health Care for All, notes that many leaders and citizens are calling for bipartisan cooperation to improve our health care system. “There are many things Congress could do to improve the quality and affordability of our health care system, beginning with stabilizing the insurance markets that have been affected by the uncertainty about looming policy changes. These issues affect Americans across the political spectrum, which is why we are heartened to see elected officials from across the political spectrum calling for a transparent, nonpartisan dialogue about health care. We hope Senator McCaskill and Senator Blunt will be part of efforts to bring leaders together around making positive changes.”

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We’re in this for the long haul – will you chip in?

Thursday, July 27, 4:00 pm

We are just hours away from the U.S. Senate voting on its latest plan to dismantle the Affordable Care Act. Like every other plan we’ve seen, this one would raise premiums and strip millions of Americans of their health insurance.

Regardless of what happens this week, our work is not over. There are more battles to come in both Washington, DC and Jefferson City.

Like so many of the people urging our legislators to save the ACA and save Medicaid, our efforts to protect our health care programs began years ago. And like so many other people, we won’t quit until we’ve secured what’s working and fixed what’s broken in health care.

We’re fighting on more fronts than ever before, and the stakes have never been higher. Will you chip in? Your tax-deductible donation will make sure we have the resources we need to defend our health care.

Please click here to make a donation: https://missourihealthcareforall.org/donate/

Thank you in advance for anything you can give.


Jen Bersdale
Executive Director
Missouri Health Care for All


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Senate to vote on “skinny” Trojan horse bill

Senate Update – Thursday, July 27, 10:30 am

The Senate has now defeated two of its health care proposals – one to “repeal and replace” the ACA and gut Medicaid (also known as the “Better Care Reconciliation Act”) and one to “repeal and not replace” major sections of the ACA.

Senate leadership has one more trick to try to keep alive their efforts to decimate our health care system. They’re calling it “Skinny Repeal.” It’s deceptive, dangerous, and the end goal is anything but skinny.

Under this plan, Senators will vote on a stripped down “repeal” proposal that repeals only three parts of the Affordable Care Act: the individual mandate, the employer mandate, and the tax on medical device manufacturers. These are among the least popular parts of the current law, which is why Senator McConnell and other leaders hope they can at last get a majority vote to move it forward.

The “Skinny Repeal” plan is bad enough – it would lead to 16 million fewer Americans having health insurance. But that’s not the real problem. As soon as the Senate passes “Skinny Repeal,” Senator McConnell and Representative Ryan will retreat behind closed doors to craft a “compromise” bill that the House and Senate will be asked to pass. The bill they write will look nothing like “Skinny Repeal.” In fact, senators have already said that the deeply unpopular House “American Health Care Act” bill would serve as the starting point. That means Skinny Repeal will lead directly back to a proposal that slashes premium subsidies, weakens consumer protections, and ends Medicaid as we know it.

It’s hard to see how taking a bill that would lead to 23 million Americans losing their health insurance and giving two people the power to turn it into a final proposal with no transparency is going to make our health care system better.

Any Senator who has ever said, “I need to see the legislation before I decide how I will vote” should vote NO on so-called Skinny Repeal. Any Senator who cares about health care should vote NO. And any Senator who cares about transparency and responsibility in governing should vote NO. This bill is nothing but a shell to allow Congress to keep advancing policies that would destroy our country’s health care system.

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What to do after you call your senators

We hear this question a lot: “Should I really keep calling Blunt and McCaskill about the health care bill?” As long as they’ve got votes left to take, they should continue to receive reminders about what their constituents want them to do.
You don’t have to stop after you call Senators Blunt and McCaskill. If you’re looking for something else to do after you’ve made your calls: Consider reaching out to friends in the following states and make sure they’ve called too. These are the Senators who most need pressure to vote no on the so-called “Skinny Repeal” bill.
People should tell these Senators: We know that Skinny Repeal will lead right back to the American Health Care Act, with deep Medicaid cuts and millions losing coverage. Please do what’s right for our state and vote no.
Who do you know in the following states who can call, e-mail, or tweet at their Senators (ideally, do all three)?
Remember, you can call any Senator by calling (202) 224-3121 and asking to be connected to that Senator’s office.
Want to do even more? Indivisible has a website set up where you can call voters in key states and ask them to call their Senators. You can volunteer for as much or as little time as you have. Click here for more information.
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