Rural Communities Lose Most With Health Repeal

LeAnn Hall

LeAnn Hall Co-Executive Director, People's Action

The GOP health bill won’t just roll back Obamacare – it will end Medicaid as we know it.

For thirty years, I’ve helped people fight for health care. In one of my proudest moments, I worked with people in small towns across Idaho to expand Medicaid for children. So I’ve seen what people can accomplish when we demand that elected representatives do the right thing.

Photo credit: Ted Eylan / Flickr

Together, we can save lives.

We need to show that power now more than ever, as Congress considers legislation that would strip coverage from millions of people. Those of us who live in small towns and rural communities have the most to lose — and the greatest reason to fight.

The repeal bill passed by the House will push 23 million people off their coverage, according to the Congressional Budget Office. Pre-existing condition protections will be tossed out the window, too.

This health repeal isn’t just about the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare. It also rips the entire Medicaid program to shreds.

The House bill cuts Medicaid by $834 billion over the next decade, just to shovel more tax giveaways to corporations and the ultra-rich. That’s going to hit rural communities and small towns especially hard.

Medicaid goes by lots of different names. In your state, it might be called Apple Health (in Washington State), SoonerCare (in Oklahoma), or Healthy Louisiana — or just plain Medicaid or Medical Assistance.

No matter what the program is called where you live, if you’re enrolled in Medicaid, your health care is at risk.

And even if you don’t use Medicaid, taking it away from 14 million people, as this bill will do, is going to devastate small communities, where Medicaid is a lifeline for rural health facilities and a source of good jobs. Rationing it will throw rural hospitals and nursing homes into a financial tailspin.

It will toss kids and their parents off coverage. It will pull the rug out from seniors and people with disabilities who live independently thanks to Medicaid. It will take dollars from the Indian Health Service when IHS is already woefully underfunded.

The politicians who support the Republican health care repeal know that many of us are outraged, so they’re swearing up and down that it won’t hurt ordinary people at all. That’s a lie, plain and simple.

The truth is that they want to ration our Medicaid to funnel more than $600 billion in tax giveaways to corporations and the ultra-rich, as the Joint Committee on Taxation makes clear.

The truth is that they want to destroy Medicaid — not just its expansion under the Affordable Care Act, but the whole Medicaid program that’s been in place since 1965. By capping its funding, they will end the federal government’s guarantee of funding our care according to how much we need and use.

The truth is that protections for pre-existing conditions will go right out the window in many states. An older person with limited income could see premiums go up by 850 percent.

The truth is that the vast majority of people support Medicaid. The program matters to people across the political spectrum, with 51 percent of President Trump’s supporters saying it’s important to them and their families, according to a Kaiser tracking poll.

The truth is that cuts to Medicaid are also deeply unpopular across the political spectrum. Almost three quarters of voters (74 percent, Quinnipiac reports) oppose cuts to Medicaid, including more than half of Republicans.

No wonder thousands of people are now calling their senators to tell them they know the truth about Medicaid and health care repeal — and they aren’t going to stand for Congress cutting the program, capping it, or taking health care away from a single person in their communities.

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Reposted from Our Future.

Posted In: Allied Approaches, From Campaign for America's Future

Union Matters

Failing Bridges Hold Public Hostage

From the USW

From tumbledown bridges to decrepit roads and failing water systems, crumbling infrastructure undermines America’s safety and prosperity. In coming weeks, Union Matters will delve into this neglect and the urgent need for a rebuilding campaign that creates jobs, fuels economic growth and revitalizes communities.

The Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) gave the public just a few hours’ notice before closing a major bridge in March, citing significant safety concerns.

The West Seattle Bridge functioned as an essential component of  the city’s local and regional transportation network, carrying 125,000 travelers a day while serving Seattle’s critical maritime and freight industries. Closing it was a huge blow to the city and its citizens. 

Yet neither Seattle’s struggle with bridge maintenance nor the inconvenience now facing the city’s motorists is unusual. Decades of neglect left bridges across the country crumbling or near collapse, requiring a massive investment to keep traffic flowing safely.

When they opened it in 1984, officials predicted the West Seattle Bridge would last 75 years.

But in 2013, cracks started appearing in the center span’s box girders, the main horizontal support beams below the roadway. These cracks spread 2 feet in a little more than two weeks, prompting the bridge’s closure.

And it’s still at risk of falling.  

The city set up an emergency alert system so those in the “fall zone” could be quickly evacuated if the bridge deteriorates to the point of collapse.

More than one-third of U.S. bridges similarly need repair work or replacement, a reminder of America’s urgent need to invest in long-ignored infrastructure.

Fixing or replacing America’s bridges wouldn’t just keep Americans moving. It would also provide millions of family-supporting jobs for steel and cement workers, while also boosting the building trades and other industries.

With bridges across the country close to failure and millions unemployed, America needs a major infrastructure campaign now more than ever.

 

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There is Dignity in All Work

There is Dignity in All Work