June 20, 2017 Advocacy Alert
In the next few weeks, the U.S. Senate may swiftly consider their version of the House-passed American Health Care Act (AHCA)—a plan only a handful of Republican Senators have seen to date. As our June 14 n4a Legislative Update details, while the proposal is partial repeal of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), we believe that the Senate version of AHCA will retain all or some of the House’s devastating cuts to Medicaid.
While n4a remains opposed to many of the provisions in the AHCA, we are extremely concerned about the move to restructure Medicaid. To be clear, the Medicaid cuts and caps that passed the House, which we believe the Senate is considering, apply to ALL of Medicaid, not just the ACA Medicaid expansion population. This means that the in-home and nursing home care provided to millions of vulnerable older adults could be in jeopardy.
The House-passed bill would pose the largest threat to Medicaid since the program’s inception in 1965. It makes no sense to undermine the only long-term care option available to most Americans just as our country undergoes a transformational demographic shift to an aging nation.
n4a is asking all AAA and Title VI aging programs around the country to reach out to your Senators this week and next to share your concerns about what Medicaid cuts would mean for older adults and caregivers that you serve. While nearly two-thirds of AAAs are involved in delivering Medicaid long-term care in their communities, even if your agency is not involved in the Medicaid program, please tell your Senators how undermining Medicaid long-term care services could put pressure on Older Americans Act and other aging programs in your community!
In particular, we believe the Senate bill’s final provisions and passage hinge especially on the following Senators who have expressed concerns about the House bill: Susan Collins (R-ME), Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), Senator Rob Portman (R-OH), Cory Gardner (R-CO), Jeff Flake (R-AZ), Dean Heller (R-NV), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) and Bill Cassidy (R-LA). If you live in one of these states, your advocacy is especially critical. Additionally, we hope you will engage your local leadership, providers, other agency stakeholders, clients and grassroots—go big and go broad!
Advocacy Tools Available
To support your advocacy efforts, n4a has put together a #SaveMedicaid suite of tools and resources (www.n4a.org/savemedicaid). Please use any/all of the following to assist your advocacy:
- n4a’s statements on the House-passed AHCA and status of Senate debates
- Template letter to customize and send to your Senators
- Grassroots Advocacy Alert to engage your local grassroots against Medicaid cuts and caps
- Key Talking Points to use in calls and emails
- Social Media toolkit and messages
- Template Op-Ed/Letter to the Editor against Medicaid cuts
- A list of other resources that detail what the AHCA and a possible Senate bill could mean for older adults (including state-specific information)
n4a will also host a conference call Tuesday, June 20 at 11:30 a.m. ET to discuss advocacy strategy. We encourage all members and your networks to join us for this conversation.
How to Take Action:
Now is the time for broad action! The next two weeks will be crucial to preventing major changes to Medicaid. We’re urging all n4a members to find a way to engage your Senators on this issue, and to ensure that your local networks reach out as well. We may not get another chance to prevent devastating Medicaid cuts!
- Send a Letter to Your Senators
You can use n4a’s template letter to fax or email a letter to your Senators. Send this letter to any state/Washington, DC staff that you know and/or you can find fax numbers and emails on senate websites at www.senate.gov.
- Call your Senators
Senators have said they aren’t hearing from their constituents about health care reform! Let’s change this—making a call is an easy way to be heard. Use n4a’s talking points to frame your message. You can find Senate DC office numbers on the Capitol Switchboard (202.224.3121), or look up your Senators’ district phone numbers on their websites.
- Alert Your Grassroots
Ask your grassroots to reach out to your Senators as well. n4a has put together a template alert that you can customize, as well as a social media toolkit with ready-made images and messages. As your agency is able to, please engage your provider networks, advisory boards and committees, and other stakeholders (including clients and caregivers!) to reach out.
- Engage Your Local Media
It is essential that lawmakers and the public understand what Medicaid cuts could mean for seniors. Consider submitting a letter to the editor or op-ed to your local paper. n4a has a template op-ed/letter to the editor that you can use to get you started, but it is important to customize the messages to your community and states.
Again, advocacy NOW is critical. We have only a couple of weeks to prevent devastating cuts to health and long-term care services for older adults. It is important to reach out no matter where you live, but it is essential if you live in Maine, West Virginia, Ohio, Colorado, Arizona, Alaska and Louisiana.
Use n4a’s advocacy tools and resources at (www.n4a.org/savemedicaid) to connect with your Senators and ask your local grassroots and stakeholders to do so as well!