Activism

Activists Rally in Last Push to Kill Trumpcare

Republicans are counting on burnout; let's show them we're ready to fight.

Boston, MA-January 15, 2017. Protesters at "Our First Stand: Save Health Care Rally."
Photo Credit: Heidi Besen / Shutterstock.com

Republican leaders' thirst for depriving millions of health care remains unquenched. With a make-or-break September 30 deadline looming, Republican senators Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Bill Cassidy (R-LA) couldn't resist one last attempt to repeal Obamacare. The result, Graham-Cassidy, has yet to be scored by the Congressional Budget Office, and has weary activists once more planning protests, congressional office visits and daily phone calls designed to ensure that they kill this bill once and for all. 

Graham-Cassidy is similar to July's unsuccessful "skinny repeal" (ending the exchanges, allowing insurers to deny coverage for pre-existing conditions), but goes a step further by turning Medicaid funding into a series of block grants states could administer however they wanted, with only a 2 percent annual increase, "far below," as Talking Points Memo points out, "the medical inflation rate of 3.8 percent." Even worse, Graham-Cassidy would require states that expanded Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act to transfer much of that funding to states that didn't. 

Activists have until September 30 to kill this bill, after which any repeal attempts would require 60 votes. Events have already begun in Alaska, Maine, Nevada, Arizona, New York and South Carolina. It's going to be a tough fight. As national activist group Indivisible said in a statement, “Graham-Cassidy is a major threat. We must put pressure on our senators and representatives immediately. BIG pressure. LOUD pressure. And that means showing up. Schedule an in-district office event now." 

Publicity is critical, as Republicans are counting on activist fatigue to allow their bill safe passage. As MoveOn.org's Ben Wikler told Vox, “Republicans know from their experience that publicity about their health care plan hurts their cause—that’s why you don’t see any rallies in favor of ACA repeal... We have to sound the alarm.” MoveOn.org, in collaboration with multiple groups including the Women's March, Indivisible, and the Town Hall Project, held a rally Tuesday in front of Capitol Hill.

Even Little Lobbyists, a group of children who depend on the Affordable Care Act for life-saving care, are back on the Hill.

Indivisible resurrected its Trumpcare Toolkit, including Calls to Kill Trumpcare, a tool for blue-state residents to call voters in key swing states and convince them to call their senators using a simple peer-to-peer dialing tool. A national day of action against Graham-Cassidy is planned for September 23.

Ilana Novick is an AlterNet contributing writer and production editor.

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