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

Get to Know AFL-CIO's Affiliates: National Association of Letter Carriers

From the AFL-CIO

Next up in our series that takes a deeper look at each of our affiliates is the National Association of Letter Carriers.

Name of Union: National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC)

Mission: To unite fraternally all city letter carriers employed by the U.S. Postal Service for their mutual benefit; to obtain and secure rights as employees of the USPS and to strive at all times to promote the safety and the welfare of every member; to strive for the constant improvement of the Postal Service; and for other purposes. NALC is a single-craft union and is the sole collective-bargaining agent for city letter carriers.

Current Leadership of Union: Fredric V. Rolando serves as president of NALC, after being sworn in as the union's 18th president in 2009. Rolando began his career as a letter carrier in 1978 in South Miami before moving to Sarasota in 1984. He was elected president of Branch 2148 in 1988 and served in that role until 1999. In the ensuing years, he worked in various roles for NALC before winning his election as a national officer in 2002, when he was elected director of city delivery. In 2006, he won election as executive vice president. Rolando was re-elected as NALC president in 2010, 2014 and 2018.

Brian Renfroe serves as executive vice president, Lew Drass as vice president, Nicole Rhine as secretary-treasurer, Paul Barner as assistant secretary-treasurer, Christopher Jackson as director of city delivery, Manuel L. Peralta Jr. as director of safety and health, Dan Toth as director of retired members, Stephanie Stewart as director of the Health Benefit Plan and James W. “Jim” Yates as director of life insurance.

Number of Members: 291,000 active and retired letter carriers.

Members Work As: City letter carriers.

Industries Represented: The United States Postal Service.

History: In 1794, the first letter carriers were appointed by Congress as the implementation of the new U.S. Constitution was being put into effect. By the time of the Civil War, free delivery of city mail was established and letter carriers successfully concluded a campaign for the eight-hour workday in 1888. The next year, letter carriers came together in Milwaukee and the National Association of Letter Carriers was formed.

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There is Dignity in All Work

There is Dignity in All Work