Health Care Defense

Victory! House halts ACA repeal – because of YOU!

Victory! House halts ACA repeal – because of YOU!

You called, you e-mailed, you rallied.

They said we couldn’t stop Congress from repealing the Affordable Care Act, but you showed up anyway.

And today, you WON.

As you may have heard, the U.S. House of Representatives just pulled the “American Health Care Act,” their bill to gut the Affordable Care Act and slash funding for Medicaid. They canceled the planned vote because they did not have enough support to pass the bill.

This is a huge victory for every person who believes in access to health care, and for the 24 million Americans who would have lost their health insurance under this bill. And it is proof that the voice of grassroots supporters like you can make a difference.

Since the Affordable Care Act was signed into law – seven years and one day ago – the U.S. has made tremendous strides in improving access to health care. Insurance levels are at the highest level ever. People are no longer charged unfair rates because they have a pre-existing condition, or because they are women. Insurance now has to cover more of the services we need.

In the years since the ACA took effect, Missouri Health Care for All has spoken with hundreds of Missourians, coming from every part of the state, who have benefitted from the Affordable Care Act. Women have received treatment for breast cancer. Young adults have gotten coverage. People battling addiction have been able to access treatment. Families have avoided medical bankruptcy.

This dangerous bill was halted by a deep groundswell of opposition from people across the country. Here in Missouri, thousands of people have called and e-mailed their members of Congress. Just this week, more than 350 Missourians attended 14 rallies across the state. The message from these supporters was clear and loud: Congress should abandon attempts to gut the Affordable Care Act and Medicaid.

Today is a good day for Missouri and the U.S. We look forward to working with elected officials to build upon the gains we have made toward making health care affordable and accessible for every person.

This weekend, take some time to celebrate a hard-won victory that will save lives in every part of this country.

But don’t go away – our work isn’t done yet. We expect further attacks on health care from both Congress and the Missouri Legislature. And, we still need to fix the real holes in our health care system, such as the Coverage Gap that leaves 300,000 Missourians without health care.

We’re in this for the long haul, and are grateful to have you with us. We’ll be in touch next week about next steps.

Thank you, from the bottom of our hearts, for being part of this movement.

 

Posted by MHCFA in Federal Updates, MHCFA Blog, 0 comments

The Medicaid Block Grant; Who Will Suffer?

The Medicaid Block Grant; Who Will Suffer?

Assault on Medicaid – The Block Grant Edition

By Lexi Amos, Parent advocate for children’s rights
Published in Missouri Autism Report, March/April 2017 edition

In January, Missouri Senator David Slater (District 29: serving Barry, Lawrence, McDonald, Stone, and Taney Counties) introduced a bill that would change the financial structure of Missouri Medicaid (Mo HealthNet) into a dangerous block grant system.

Missouri’s current Medicaid program is a partnership between the state and federal governments, funded partially by the federal government and partially by the state of Missouri. For every dollar that Missouri spends, the federal government spends $1.72. In the current system, if the cost of providing Medicaid services is more than expected, the federal government provides assistance to the state.  The current funding system accounts for events such as epidemics, economic downturns, and natural or man-made disasters –  all possible reasons a state might exceed their expected Medicaid costs.

A block grant system would drastically change the funding structure of Medicaid. Under a block grant, the federal government provides only a pre-set amount of funding for our state’s Medicaid program. If Missouri’s Medicaid program exceeds our federal funding, our state is responsible for all of the excess costs. This would require our state government to either increase taxes to cover the healthcare costs or limit the coverage and services available to Medicaid participants.

Jen Bersdale, Executive Director of the patient advocacy group Missouri Health Care for All, said “Senate Bill 28, as currently written, would hand complete control of our state’s Medicaid program over to a small administrative committee with no actual accountability to voters”. And legal experts Joel Ferber and Geoff Oliver, with Legal Services of Eastern Missouri, found that 243,000 to 357,000 Medicaid recipients would lose coverage under a Medicaid block grant.Block Grants & CPP WHO LOSES UNDER SB28-

We know how important disability Medicaid is to the lifetime success of many people with disabilities, and we must work with our legislature to ensure that Medicaid is a sustainable assistance program well into the future. However, a block grant is not the solution we are looking for. By changing the current federal-state cost share to a block grant program Missourians are providing a “legal” avenue of denying medical coverage to people who qualify and depend on government assistance programs.

In our state’s difficult economic climate, it is unlikely our state government will raise taxes or other revenue to cover the funding gaps a Medicaid block grant would cause. It is much more likely that integral services would no longer be covered, care would be rationed, and hundreds of thousands of Missourians would be completely cut off from Mo HealthNet. Bottom line, if we are not diligent in monitoring and protecting our access to quality health care and safety net systems, our elected officials may dismantle the programs our families and neighbors depend on.

If you would like to get involved and share how block grants would affect you or people you care about please contact Crystal Brigman Mahaney, with Missouri Healthcare for All at 417-693-5690 or email at crystal@mohealthcareforall.org.

Posted by MHCFA in MHCFA Blog, State Updates, 0 comments

We’re bringing the town hall to Senator Blunt this Saturday morning

Do our elected representatives care about our health care?

Debbie speaking out at Blunt's officeThis week is Congressional recess – meaning our elected officials have left their DC offices to join us, their constituents, back home in our home districts. Across the country members of Congress are holding public town halls to hear from their constituents.

Currently, US Senator Roy Blunt has yet to schedule public meetings, so we’re accommodating his schedule and bringing the town hall to him!

Springfield Street Town Hall & Save Our Care Rally
When: Saturday, February 25th from 6:30 AM – 8:30 AM
Where: In front of University Plaza Hotel, 333 S John Q Hammons Pkwy Springfield, 65806
Why: Our DC delegation needs to hear from us, their constituents, about how the Affordable Care Act, Medicaid and health policy impacts our health, our lives and our communities.
RSVP: https://www3.thedatabank.com/dpg/616/mtglistproc.asp?formid=calendar&caleventid=1826

Health Care remembranceSenator Blunt will be speaking at the Lincoln Days’ breakfast Saturday morning. We’re joining forces with concerned citizens to rally early in the morning – 6:30 AM – to share our stories and show Senator Blunt that we need to talk about health care.

What else?

We know this is early – so be sure to dress warmly – but know you won’t be alone! Bring your stories, your passion, your friends, and we’ll bring the coffee and extra signs to spread our message.

We know stories matter – bring a photo of a loved one or your reasons why health care matters so much to your life and our families. We’re going to show the strength of our voices and our concerns.

Posted by MHCFA in MHCFA Blog
Senate Bill 28 on the move. Act now to save Medicaid.

Senate Bill 28 on the move. Act now to save Medicaid.

All session we have kept you updated on a dangerous bill – Senate Bill 28. Grassroots pressure from supporters like you stopped this dangerous bill in its tracks once.

We’re at the point in session when bills turn into amendments to move through the process. We must remain diligent and we need you to take action again – now.

P.S. Here’s a reminder of what’s at stake:

Senate Bill 28 seeks to drastically change our Missouri Medicaid program by seeking a “block grant”.

The impact of Medicaid block grants or per capita caps:

  • Deep cuts to Missouri’s federal funding for Medicaid, ripping health care from kids, pregnant women, people with disabilities, and older adults
  • Financial risk to the state of Missouri

 

Posted by MHCFA in MHCFA Blog
Health Advocates Denounce U.S. Senate Vote to Gut Health Care

Health Advocates Denounce U.S. Senate Vote to Gut Health Care

 

The United State Senate voted in the wee hours of the morning, Thursday, January 12, to pass a budget resolution intended to dismantle much of the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare or the ACA.

The vote was 51-48, with all Republican Senators except one voting for it and all Democratic Senators voting against it. Missouri Senator Roy Blunt voted yes on the resolution, while Senator Claire McCaskill voted no.

While this vote is only the first step, it shows where lawmakers are on this issue.

Last night’s vote was the first step in a process known as budget reconciliation, which will allow opponents of the Affordable Care Act to dismantle the law’s protections while avoiding a Democrat-led filibuster.

While many of the Senators pushing for an immediate repeal of the ACA have promised to “repeal and replace” the law, there is no replacement plan in place. None of the plans that have been proposed by individual lawmakers come close to matching the comprehensive protections of the Affordable Care Act.

“Moving to repeal the Affordable Care Act without a plan in place to replace it is a reckless move,” says Jen Bersdale, Executive Director of Missouri Health Care for All. “Last night’s vote is the latest example of elected officials putting politics before the lives of millions of people who stand to lose their health insurance under this scheme.”

Health care supporters across the state have contacted Missouri Senators and Representatives, urging them not to repeal the Affordable Care Act before there is a replacement plan that guarantees those currently covered do not lose their insurance.

We applaud Senator McCaskill for heeding the calls of her constituents and standing strong for their health care. Senator Blunt should have followed her leadership and that of his Republican colleague, Senator Paul, who voted no because there is no replacement plan in place. He is playing a dangerous game with his constituents’ health and should reconsider his position in future votes.

The resolution now moves to the U.S. House of Representatives, which is expected to vote on it by Friday, January 13.

Missouri Health Care for all urges the House of Representatives, including the members of Missouri’s delegation, to act more responsibly than their colleagues in the Senate. Missourians have too much at stake in this debate to have their health care used as a political football.

Posted by MHCFA in MHCFA Blog
Take the #KeepOurCare Pledge

Take the #KeepOurCare Pledge

Missourians’ access to health care is at risk.

President-elect Trump and Congressional leaders have pledged to make changes to health care that could result in millions of Americans losing access. They have repeatedly discussed repealing the Affordable Care Act without a clear plan for replacing it. Some leaders have also said they want to drastically change both Medicaid and Medicare in ways that would be extremely damaging.

We need our elected officials to make health care BETTER, and keep the programs and protections that are helping people now.

That’s why we’ve launched KeepOurCare.org 

As Missourians, we want to keep our health care. We are concerned about proposals to repeal the Affordable Care Act without replacing all of its protections, cut funds for Medicaid, or privatize Medicare. These proposals would all have devastating effects on access to health care.

We want our elected officials to focus on bipartisan ways to fix real problems and let us keep the care we already have.

Visit KeepOurCare.org to let us know you’re with us by taking the Keep Our Care pledge to be part of the effort  to make health care access better for Missourians.

Posted by MHCFA in Featured, Federal Updates, MHCFA Blog, 2 comments
Moving Forward Together

Moving Forward Together

Like many of you, we are deeply disappointed in the results of last night’s election. At the national level, we will be led by a President who has promised to repeal the Affordable Care Act, and a Congress that has repeatedly tried to do so. In Missouri, we elected a new Governor who has run on a platform of opposing Medicaid Expansion.

It is so tempting to throw up our hands in despair at this moment. But this moment requires our courage and resolve.

Our movement has been through challenging times before. It took more than fifty years of failed attempts to pass broad health care reform. After each setback, health care champions summoned the strength to continue fighting. Today, thanks to the Affordable Care Act, the uninsured rate in our country is the lowest it has ever been.

The millions of people who gained coverage and protections through the Affordable Care Act – and the 300,000 Missourians still waiting for us to close the Coverage Gap – are counting on us to make sure that campaign talk doesn’t turn into reality. This spring, we showed that our movement has the ability to work with elected officials in both parties on bipartisan solutions to health care challenges, and we aren’t about to give up now. We will continue to engage our grassroots supporters to defend our hard-won gains and work for further improvements.

If you are upset or hurting today, it’s okay. Take care of your personal well-being and that of your family. But please, don’t dwell in despair. The path forward lies in our shared determination.

We are doubling down on our mission of ensuring that every Missourian can access quality, affordable health care. If you can help support the staff, travel, and supplies this work will require, please make a tax-deductible donation here.

Thank you for standing with us at this moment. We honor and appreciate you, and we look forward to our continuing work together.

In gratitude,

Jen Bersdale
Executive Director
Missouri Health Care for All

Posted by MHCFA in MHCFA Blog, 0 comments
Missouri Legislature Overrides SB608: Adds fees & penalties to Medicaid

Missouri Legislature Overrides SB608: Adds fees & penalties to Medicaid

We are deeply disappointed that the Missouri House & Senate have narrowly voted to override the Governor’s veto of SB608, a dangerous bill that sought to punish Missourians on Medicaid for ER use and missed appointments.. These penalties & fees have been shown to hurt health.

We thank the Senators and Representatives who spoke against the override, noting the real life circumstances many Medicaid recipients face, and the need to increase access to health care, not put up more barriers.

We are deeply disappointed to report that the Missouri House and Senate narrowly voted to override Governor Nixon’s veto. SB608 will become law.

Medicaid connects thousands of Missouri families to health care they would otherwise not be able to afford. SB608 will penalize Medicaid patients with unaffordable co-pays, more Missourians will put off needed medical care, and their health will suffer.

We are continuing to fight back against this bad policy. Over the coming months, we will push the state of Missouri to reduce the harm to low income patients. We will need your help to protect Missouri’s most vulnerable and will reach out when it is time to act.

As always, we will let you know when we need you to take action and stand up for the health of Missourians.

Thank you for taking action and supporting our movement.

Posted by MHCFA in MHCFA Blog, State Updates, 0 comments