The Newspapers and the Networks keep reporting about massive groups of demonstrators at Town Hall Meetings and representatives’ offices. Although we are concerned about many issues, the Affordable Care Act is the current cornerstone of the resistance movement. Not only is it the signature achievement of the Obama presidency, defunding it was the war cry that the GOP used for seven years to build their political base. The ACA is not perfect, and if the GOP worked with President Obama and the democrats, its imperfections would be fewer. The success of the ACA in getting more Americans insured and saving lives is undebatable.
We will continue to organize, make noise, phone calls, and letters to newspapers. There is another way to help keep some form of the Affordable Care Act alive. The Tompkins County Legislature is the first NY 23rd county to propose and pass a resolution to “Oppose a Repeal of the Affordable Care Act Without an Acceptable Commensurate Healthcare Alternative”. Tompkins has given the rest of us a model to present to our county Legislators to consider to adopt.
The Resolution contains nine “WHEREASes” that sing the praises of the ACA (and reasons to oppose repealing it):
I know what many are thinking– how can we expect Republicans to even consider voting to tell Congressman Reed to “vote against a repeal of the ACA?” The Tompkins Legislature, which are not all Democrats, passed the resolution Unanimously! I feel the key to having this resolution succeed is in the first of two “RESOLVEDs”:
“to vote against any repeal of the Affordable Care Act unless and until it is replaced by another nationwide alternative with protections for for the public commensurate of the ACA…”
That is what Paul Ryan, other main stream GOP congressional leaders, and even President Trump promised. They will provide better and cheaper Health Care. They want to keep the popular benefits of the ACA. Now they are trying to figure out how to pay for those benefits. Local GOP Legislators might be willing to go along with the resolution, especially if the public knows about the it and the nine “WHEREAS”.
The Yates County Legislature have 14 members, all Republican or Conservative. The Yates Democratic Committee have met with the Chair of the Human Services committee, and she will present a Yates County version of the Tompkins County resolution to her committee at their next meeting. The committee will discuss it at their public meeting, and, if they approve, it will move to the full Legislature. It will need to be discussed in public again. That gives Yates County residents two different chances to keep the benefits of the ACA in the local news and to place letters in the local papers. It also puts the Legislators in the position to chose to protect the local residents health benefits, or not.
Every county legislature in the NY 23rd needs be presented with a resolution similar to the Tompkins County one. They need to be able to discuss in public how the ACA affects their constituents. The ACA protects people of all political parties.
A copy of the Yates County version of the resolution can be found here.
If you decide to ask your Legislators to consider this resolution, you will need to create a copy of the resolution to use in your County. You need to make it unique to your county. First of all, you will need to change the name of the County from Yates to your county. You will probably need to change the name of the committee that will handle your proposal. In Tompkins it was the “Health and Human Services” committee. In Yates it was the “Human Services” committee.
Most importantly, you will also need to change the number of people that will lose their health coverage if the ACA is repealed. In Yates County that number is 2,515. That’s 10% of our population.
Your county also receives Federal Funds to help pay the Medicaid benefits for people whose income is between the Poverty Level and 133% of the Poverty Level. Those residents will lose ALL Medicaid benefits if the ACA is repealed.
You can get both of those figures from the chart below:
Numbers matter. Get people to go to the Committee and Legislators Meetings. Get the press involved. If your Legislature refuses to even consider it, news will made. If they consider it, but they turn it down, news will be made. Having your County Legislature go on record being against repealing the ACA would be a powerful statement. Not only will it make news, but it will tell Rep. Reed something he does not want to hear. He can dismiss liberal Tompkins County for wanting the ACA, but what about the other 10 counties of the NY 23rd?