I hear all this talk of “repeal and replace.” Isn’t there a better alternative plan on the table?
The Affordable Care Act (ACA) made great strides in ensuring that all Alaskans have access to affordable, quality healthcare. From the expansion of Medicaid to the elimination of preexisting conditions statutes, many Alaskans now have healthcare who otherwise wouldn’t, thanks to the ACA. The law is not perfect, and there are improvements that can be made to continue to drive down costs. But as of yet, no viable replacement plan has been offered by Congressional leaders. Over the last six years, there have been more than 60 votes to repeal the law in its entirety - yet none of these have fully done so, due to concerns that there is no adequate replacement plan in place.
If the health care law isn’t perfect, why don’t we just get rid of the whole thing and start again?
While there is progress to be made in ensuring we continue to lower costs for all Americans, the alternatives and modifications to the ACA currently on the table in Congress would cause significant harm to America’s healthcare system, and negatively affect the hundreds of millions of people who have come to rely on the ACA. The most recent replacement “plans” put out by leaders in Congress contain significant cuts to Medicare and Medicaid, and would greatly reduce the percentage of a person's health care cost that insurance providers are obligated to cover. While Congressional leaders continue to make claims that they will “repeal and replace” the Affordable Care Act, to date, no such plans exist to fully replace and improve the law - rather, current legislation on the table aims to remove key provisions that Alaskans depend on.
Where do our Alaskan elected leaders in Washington stand on this issue?
As one of the state’s that greatly expanded Medicare under the ACA, Alaska’s Congressional delegation has a key role to play in ensuring the improvements the ACA has made to our state’s healthcare system are not scrapped. While Senator Murkowski has made it clear that she is in favor of the repeal efforts, she has expressed a reluctance to move forward without there being a clear replacement plan - that lowers costs, improves outcomes and quality of care - in place. Senator Sullivan has expressed urgency in repealing the law in its entirety. Both Senators voted to begin the repeal process on January 12th of this year (Fiscal Year 2017 budget resolution, S. Con. Res. 3), even amidst the growing concerns of Alaskans who rely on provisions put forward by the ACA. Let’s make sure they know that we rely on the ACA.
How do I get involved to make sure our leaders Protect Our Care?
All over the United States, and around Alaska, folks are speaking up and making sure our elected leaders know that repealing the Affordable Care Act would hurt them, their families and loved ones. While voting on repeals and being “pro repeal” might help win political partisanship points in Washington, the actual ramifications of repealing the ACA will be drastic in Alaska, and we need to make sure our elected leaders know our voices are getting louder. Contact Senators Murkowski and Sullivan and let them know that you want them to Protect Our Care (link to action center here). And like the Protect Our Care Alaska Facebook page to get updates and follow along in the discussion. Let your own networks know how you feel on your social media feeds. And be sure you sign up for email updates from our coalition to stay in the loop. Remember, it’s up to all of us Alaskans to #ProtectOurCare!