Activists like Progressive Maryland and our allies have stopped "repeal and replace" -- now the goal is to see health care as a human right become the law of the land. Gov. Larry Hogan made lukewarm comments -- finally -- about a solution to the mess his GOP fellows have made, but we need to keep pressure on him and Rep. Andy Harris to do the right thing. Hear what is needed from folks who need it in Salisbury tonight (see Town Hall meeting announcement below).
/By Beth Landry/ Hours after our update Monday afternoon on current events regarding healthcare legislation, Senators Lee of Utah and Moran of Kansas declared Monday evening they would not be able to support the proposed Senate bill. Senator McConnell "conceded Monday night that 'the effort to repeal and immediately replace [...] Obamacare will not be successful.'"
Yesterday morning's news shared a potential effort to repeal the Affordable Care Act altogether, without a replacement. That afternoon, before the ink could dry, Senators Murkowski of Alaska, Capito of West Virginia and Collins of Maine "announced Tuesday that they won’t vote for a procedural step to take up the bill [...]."
Without enough support for the motion to proceed, efforts currently in the Senate are awash. Senator McConnell has hinted that a bipartisan solution may be necessary in the wake of not being able to bring several bills in the Senate to a vote.
Because of all of the phone calls, post cards, sit-ins, rallies, marches, among many other examples of activism - we did it! The bill is dead!
Here at Progressive Maryland, we could not be more proud of all of our members standing up for healthcare and the elected leaders who refuse to allow legislation to take healthcare coverage away from hundreds of thousands in our state. The time for celebration, however, is short.
Another avenue is being pursued from the U.S. House of Representatives 2018 proposed budget, released yesterday, which includes $200 billion in cuts to mandatory programs, such as Medicare and Social Security. Another concern regards the Children's Health Insurance Program, or CHIP, which is due to be reauthorized this coming September.
We have not changed our position that Governor Hogan should take a leadership stance on the national healthcare debate. Tuesday afternoon, after the bulk of the debate had concluded regarding the withdrawal of a Senate bill, Governor Hogan released an image on Twitter discussing the need to "fix our unstable insurance markets." No statement was released on the Governor's website, and no mention was made in the statement regarding the importance of people's actual health and well-being as the driving force.
That being said, it is because of the hard work of our Progressive Maryland members and our dedicated allies in the state making phone calls, sending emails, making legislative visits to Annapolis, and lobbying the Governor that a position was even hinted at on healthcare, however long it took for a statement to be made.
We also will continue to hold Rep. Andy Harris of Congressional District 1 accountable for his vote in support of the American Health Care Act and refusal to meet in person with constituents. Lives of Maryland residents and all over the country rely on live-saving and life-sustaining medical coverage and treatment. The only type of healthcare reform that should be taking place is to expand coverage to everyone, as opposed to making cuts to social programs.
Tonight in Salisbury from 6:30-8:30pm at the One Stop Job Market, please join us for the Public Forum on Medicaid. Details are on the flyer, and you can RSVP HERE. If you would like to share your story regarding Medicaid or healthcare in general, this is a great place to do so! Look out for the other members of Progressive Maryland who will be in attendance.
Beth Landry is Progressive Maryland health care co-organizer.