Health Care

What Does Delay in the Senate Really Mean for TrumpCare?


First Things First: This Is a Huge Blow to TrumpCare

Repealing the Affordable Care Act has been a priority for the Republican Party writ large for seven years. It was a “Day One” campaign promise of Donald Trump’s. But the Affordable Care Act is still not repealed.

This is because of you. You stood up and fought back. You took on the fanatical obsession with repealing Obamacare and you dealt it another blow with the delayed Senate vote. McConnell’s tactics of negotiating in total secrecy could not overcome your constituent power. McConnell delayed the vote because he just simply couldn’t wrangle enough votes to pass it.

But: This Is Not Mission Accomplished—Recess Will Decide Whether TrumpCare Lives or Dies

We wish this were a final victory. But don’t forget what happened in the House. Paul Ryan cancelled a vote in the House and declared that “Obamacare is the law of the land.” But over the next few weeks, Republicans secretly plotted a strategy to bring a dead bill back to life. The changes they made were virtually meaningless but were just enough to pass the bill through the House by a razor thin margin.

Senate Republicans have made it clear that they intend to keep working. They’ve already met with the White House to try hammering out a deal. Make no mistake: they have not given up, and they’ll spend recess trying to cobble together the votes to jam TrumpCare through.

That means this recess is a critical crossroads for defeating TrumpCare. Republicans will try resuscitating the bill as soon as they get back. Unless they hear from you.

Tell Them: There Is No Sweetener That Makes This Bill Something They Should Vote For

Recess is your opportunity to tell your Senators you expect them to vote NO on TrumpCare, no matter what gets changed in the bill. There is no amount of funding or policy tweaks that could make this bill something your Senator should support. Nevertheless, over the next week, your Senator will be tempted by any number of “side deals” or “sweeteners” from Mitch McConnell to entice them to support this monstrosity. For example:

  • Some Senators have expressed concerns about the Medicaid expansion. McConnell may dangle a longer phase out of Medicaid to try to win their support. But it doesn’t matter whether Medicaid cuts are made now or later: millions of Americans will still lose the coverage they need and there is no meaningful plan for this “transition” no matter how long it is stretched out.
  • Some Senators want to see more funding to fight the opioid crisis gripping their states. But Medicaid is a main way those who need addiction treatment get the care they need, and TrumpCare destroys Medicaid as we know it. The Senate TrumpCare bill only adds additional funding for opioid addiction for one year. No matter how much token funding McConnell adds, this bill is still terrible for Americans battling opioid addiction, and comes nowhere near the amount of funding for opioid treatment that would be preserved if this bill fails.
  • Some Senators have expressed concerns about the bill’s per capita caps for Medicaid -- and rightfully so. The per capita caps are a fundamental transformation of Medicaid that, when all is said and done, are cuts by another name that mean people will have less of the care they need. The cuts are especially harmful to specific populations, like the elderly, the disabled, and children with special needs. McConnell may try exempting one of these populations from the bill's caps, but that only pits different groups against each other. A change here should in no way entice your Senator to support it.
  • Some Senators are concerned about rural health costs, or other unique reasons costs may be higher for their state. McConnell may try offering holdouts a different funding formula that gives extra funding to Senators that play hardball. But the Senate TrumpCare bill is bad for every state and especially bad for rural health care, because of its changes to tax credits to help people afford insurance and its destruction of Medicaid. There is no amount of extra funding that could redeem TrumpCare for rural Americans.
  • Some Senators may want to cut Medicaid, but cut it less deeply than the current Senate bill would. As it stands, the Senate TrumpCare bill allows federal Medicaid funding to grow so that it keeps up with estimated medical costs until 2025 (which is still a huge cut and a fundamental transformation of Medicaid that means millions won’t get the care they need, as we said above). But after 2025, federal funding only grows so that it keeps up with the cost of milk and bread -- not medical costs, which grow much faster -- making this change to Medicaid even worse. Even if McConnell makes a change to this growth rate for hold out Senators, the rest of the bill is still a disaster for Americans who need Medicaid.

What We Have to Do Now: Keep the Pressure On

McConnell delayed the Senate vote because he didn’t quite have the votes he needed—but he is very close. In fact, he said he delayed it because Senators “asked him for more time” and that his goal is to get 50 people to agree on... something.

We have to keep the pressure up on every single Senator. Whether you’ve heard your Senator is a hold out or not, keep up the pressure. Make sure they hear your voice and your story. Tell them not to support this terrible bill.

And if you live in one of our ten target states, your help is even more important. Tell your Senator to vote no on this bill, no matter how many sweeteners get added, using our targeted scripts at www.trumpcareten.org.

The Senate delay is a huge setback but it is not a nail in the coffin. Make sure your Senators hear from you this recess. Together, we can defeat this bill once and for all.