Four of the U.S. senators needed to pass the Better Care Reconciliation Act (BCRA) spoke out against the bill, blocking it from becoming law at this time. The BCRA aimed to dramatically cut Medicaid, opened a path for insurers to charge people with costly health conditions more, and permitted annual and lifetime insurance caps in some circumstances. Dozens of national health organizations opposed the bill, including the American Lung Association, American Heart Association, American Diabetes Association and American Cancer Society. The PH community joined them in speaking up for patient protections. Since January, PH community members have sent nearly 1,800 emails to their Members of Congress and PHA Board Member Colleen Connor represented PHA during a national health care advocacy day in Washington, D.C.
A group of senators met Wednesday night to try to find changes to the bill to make the repeal of the Affordable Care Act more likely to pass a procedural vote next week. The President challenged the senate to pass a bill before returning to their home states for the August recess, but so far there is no clear agreement on what the updated bill would look like. If amending the Affordable Care Act is unsuccessful, the next challenge facing Members of Congress is how to craft bi-partisan legislation that addresses the problems with the Affordable Care Act while keeping critical patient protections. PHA will continue to provide updates on health care policy that affects you and keep you connected with advocacy action alerts. Be sure to sign up to receive email updates!