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Health Care Reform? Emails to Senators Durbin and Duckworth

06.26.17

This is the email I sent our IL Senators today. I will post their response when I receive them.

Dear Senator Duckworth,

Why haven’t you, or Senator Durbin, or any other Democratic Senator, publicly offered solutions to the ACA in light of the horrendous Republican tax reform bill, AHCA, (which is not a health care proposal, it is tax reform)? This is the opportunity for the Democrats to be leaders, counteract the Republicans shill game of the AHCA and really work to fix what was wrong with the ACA. I want to know why there are not any Democratic solutions on the table in the public sphere. I don’t care that we don’t have the votes. I want to see leadership and solutions, not finger pointing and a deepening of the divide. This country needs to unite, needs one set of facts and needs compromise over ideology.

Please send me your response. I’m posting my email request to our local political organization’s website and will post your response.
https://act2018blog.wordpress.com/

Thank you very much,
Christophe

HERE IS DUCKWORTH’S RESPONSE I RECEIVED TWO DAYS LATER:

Dear Neighbor,

Thank you for contacting me to share your views about the Better Care Reconciliation Act (BCRA). I appreciate you taking the time to make me aware of your concerns on this important matter.

The BCRA is the Senate version of the American Health Care Act (AHCA). Similar to the House bill, it gives massive tax cuts to the wealthy while forcing millions of working Americans to pay more for less care. The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates that 22 million more Americans will be uninsured by 2026 if this bill is passed and signed into law. According to the CBO, the BCRA would result in 4 million Americans losing employer-sponsored insurance in 2018 alone. In addition, under the BCRA, Illinois hospitals would see uncompensated care costs rise by nearly $400 million next year, and our State would experience the fifth highest increase in the number of uninsured in 2018.

The BCRA makes the AHCA worse, not better. I am deeply disappointed that Senate Republicans have joined House Republicans in threatening the care of millions of hard working Americans around the country, including the nearly 1 in 10 Veterans who obtain health care through our Nation’s largest health insurance program, Medicaid. This legislation would end Medicaid as we know it. It weakens the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) by cutting that law’s Medicaid enhancement, which would threaten the insurance of 650,000 Illinoisans who gained coverage under the ACA. Even worse, the BCRA would go far beyond repealing the ACA Medicaid expansion and cut Medicaid by hundreds of billions of dollars – directly violating President Donald Trump’s promise to protect Medicaid, not cut it.

The BCRA retains the ACA’s advanced premium tax credit, but makes them significantly less helpful and cuts off more working families from accessing them. The CBO estimates that the BCRA would be particularly painful for older working Americans between 50 and 64 years old. For instance, under the ACA, a 64 year old single individual with an annual income of $56,800 currently pays an annual premium of approximately $6,800 for a silver plan. Under the BCRA, this individual’s premium would rise to $20,500. Worse, as costs rise, the quality of insurance would fall because the BCRA allows states to waive coverage of essential health benefits, such as mental health services, maternity care, emergency services and hospital stays.

Simply put, the BCRA, just like the AHCA, would force too many Americans to pay more for less coverage. Outside of the 400 wealthiest families in America who would receive tax cuts totaling $33 billion, it is difficult to identify individuals from any walk of life who would do better under the Senate or House versions of Trumpcare.

The ACA is not perfect. However, rather than repealing it and replacing it with a far worse proposal, Congress should work together to improve the ACA. We should preserve the law’s successful protections for Americans with pre-existing conditions, and keep the ACA’s ban on abusive insurance practices, such as punitive lifetime limits, higher costs for women and discriminatory medical underwriting that punishes individuals for getting sick. In addition, adjusting the ACA’s advanced premium tax credits to cover more hard-working Americans would significantly improve affordability for families with modest incomes. States can also follow the lead of Illinois and the 31 other States that have expanded Medicaid to help more low-income Americans access care.

I am deeply disappointed that President Donald Trump broke his promise to protect Medicaid and joined Senate Republicans in pushing an extremely partisan proposal. I am also deeply frustrated that Senate Republicans would not consider the BCRA in an open and transparent manner. The majority’s refusal to hold a single public hearing while drafting the bill is indefensible and I am committed to doing everything in my power to hold a full debate and transparent amendment process. This includes urging the CBO to estimate the impact of the BCRA beyond 10 years, since my constituents will be forced to live with Trumpcare beyond 2026. You can read my letter online here.

As your Senator, I am committed to working to achieve high-quality, affordable health care for all Americans. I cannot support a proposal like the BCRA, which would eliminate critical patient protections, unfairly increase costs on working class Americans and give generous tax breaks to the wealthiest Americans. I will fight on behalf of all Illinoisans to defeat the proposal that President Trump and Senate Republicans proposed, and I stand ready to work with any Member of Congress who is willing to develop and advance proposals that protect patients from abusive practices, lowers health care costs and guarantees that our nation’s dedicated Veterans receive the high quality care they deserve.

Thank you again for contacting me on this important issue. If you would like more information on my work in the Senate, please visit my website at www.duckworth.senate.gov. You can access my voting record and see what I am doing to address today’s most important issues. I hope that you will continue to share your views and opinions with me and let me know whenever I may be of assistance to you.


Sincerely,

The Honorable Tammy Duckworth
United States Senator

Meeting Notes May 15th, 2017

May 15 ACT 2018 Meeting.

We opened with a discussion of the agenda for the evening, highlighting the board elections to take place at the end of the meeting.

Our first speaker, Travis, stepped forward for a brief presentation of the Federal budget process. He began with an overview of his background in campaign politics and his work on budget committees. He then provided an explanation of the process for submitting and approving the federal budget. Several questions on emergency spending were raised, and he explained the function of emergency appropriations. This lead to a discussion of the black budget–the sum of money included each year that can be appropriated in closed sessions.

Our second speaker provided a presentation on the Illinois State budget. She opened with a brief overview of her work as a bi-partisan lobbyist, and a brief overview of the similarities in the state and federal budget process. The point was made that if our Illinois budget isn’t passed by May 30th, it will mark 2 years without a state budget–which is dangerous for social services, and also will lead to a down-grading of our bond status. A member raised the question: How likely is this bill to pass? This lead to a discussion of the Grand Bargain, the points of contention between Governor Rauner and the democrats, and the fact that many citizens aren’t directly affected by the budget crisis, so there is less pressure for the state to resolve the issue.

Our third speaker, offered the view from a non-profit social-service agency in Chicago that has been directly affected by the state budget crisis over the past two years. She provided a brief history of their organization and pointed out how fortunate they have been to receive both federal and private funding in order to stay afloat. Now that the new administration has taken over at the federal level, that federal funding is less secure.

The third speaker also highlighted her personal involvement with the United Neighbors of the 35th Ward (an organization that we could potentially partner with in the future, or use as a model), as well as the current march from Chicago to Springfield in protest of the budget crisis. To end on a hopeful note, she made the group aware of the Fight for 15 March on McDonalds happening May 23rd (pushing for a living wage for McDonalds employees), as well as the Planet 1st Budget movement and the LaSalle Street Tax.

A question and answer session followed the presentations, ending in a quote from our first speaker, “Don’t wait to build up critical mass before you do something, do something in order to build up critical mass”.

Christophe announced the date of our next meeting, Monday June 19.

Board Elections held. Results:

  • Treasurer: Peter
  • Transparency Secretary: Lauren
  • Community Liason: Trish
  • Social Media: Frank, Sam, Jude
  • Press Liason: Mike B

05.15.17 Meeting Agenda

ACT 2018

Meeting #4 NOTES:

05.15.17

Founders: Mike Bransford and Christophe Bakunas

NEED: (Three month commitment)

  1. Social Media: This board member is for someone who is adept at FB, twitter and WordPress. Who can post for ACT 2018 as well as interact with others on Social Media. We also need someone who has a calm and even temperament who can communicate clearly and without prejudice.
  2. Press Liaison: This board member is for someone who has or can create traditional media relations as well as social media relations to help broadcast the work that we are doing month by month.
  3. Community Liaison: This board member needs to have unique financial and legal skills who can help us organize our group with banks, businesses and advice on proper legal structure and action
  4. Treasurer: This board member needs to have working knowledge of accounting, finance and not for profit experience.
  5. Transparency Secretary: This board member will help ACT 2018 publish all activities, meeting notes, blog sessions and record all board and group meetings. We must keep all activities 100% transparent and knowledgeable to all.

 

SPEAKERS:

Who:   Micaella Verro, Director of Health and Leadership Programs, Erie House

  • Discussing the impact of state and federal budget on nonprofit and local organizations

Ftim Hajou, Syrian Refugee

  • Discussing the hardships faced by Syrian refugees

Travis Worl, Political Consultant, Worl Consulting

  • Discussing how government works and how to influence government

 

 

Meeting #3

ACT 2018 (Andersonville Coming Together)

Meeting #3 Health Care –

Board Volunteers

  1. Social Media, helping to spread the word of ACT 2018 and what we’re doing as well as following media for news pertinent to our work.
  2. Research
  3. Congressional tracker, keeping track of congress people, when they’re in town and when we have town hall meetings
  4. Notes

Discussion of health care in the US as it relates to Planned Parenthood and reproductive rights.

Letter Writing: Secretary of Health and Human Services, Tom Price

US Department of Health and Human Services

200 Independence Avenue, S.W.

Washington, D.C. 20201

Phone: 202-690-7000

 

The new administration MUST protect full insurance coverage of birth control with no copay.

Dear Tom Price

I’m writing today to express my opposition to any efforts by this administration to dismantle no-copay insurance coverage of birth control.

Under the Affordable Care Act, birth control is correctly recognized as essential preventive health care. As a result, more than 55 million women have gained access to no-cost birth control.

People use birth control for a variety of reasons, including endometriosis, migraines, premenstrual pain, and menstrual regulation, as well as to plan whether and when to start a family. Ninety-nine percent of sexually active women have used birth control at some point in their lives.

Access to birth control is a critically important health and wellness issue for American families, and Americans overwhelmingly support access to birth control. Limiting access to birth control would be devastating for millions.

(Add a personal story if you have one!)

Meeting #2

Monday, March 27th,  7-9pm

First 20 Minutes, Meeting/Business Notes

  1. One Monday per month meeting – next meeting April 17th, 2017
  2. Round table talking of focus topics
  3. Please invite your like-minded friends if they are not on this mailing list
  4. SKILLS 1, 2 & 3 Doc
  5. Finance?
    1. Do we want to raise money for 2018 canvassing?
    2. Where do we keep the money?
    3. Preferred way of transparency to post how money was used. (eg. $49 used to mail last sessions letters)
    4. Food and wine, necessary or not?

Writing Campaign: (I’m going to start a Word Press page where we can publish our actions. Publish our letters and broadcast not only our activities but the results, positive or negative)

American Health Care Act AHCA

Write Republicans and Democrats to urge them to vote against Paul Ryan’s American Health Care Act.

Letter writing: (a few things to keep in mind while writing: a personal experience is very valuable and should be included. For Republican Senators we must demand that they do not repeal the law without simultaneously replacing it.)

 

Dear Senator,

As your constituent (IF APPLICABLE), I ask you to protect the progress we’ve made under the Affordable Care Act in health care and coverage. Please insist on a plan that will assure we continue to have quality, affordable health insurance before agreeing to repeal the law.

Repealing the Affordable Care Act could harm millions, double the number of uninsured by 2019, and throw the U.S. health care system into disarray. It could take affordable health care coverage away from 30 million people, including children and working families covered under the ACA’s Medicaid expansion.

Your constituents deserve to know what is in a replacement plan and see proof that it will provide better, more affordable care, coverage, and consumer protections than the Affordable Care Act does BEFORE any repeal.

(ADD A PERSONAL EXPERIENCE IF YOU HAVE IT.)

Thank you.

 

Source: https://www.healthinsurance.org/repeal-and-replace/6-ways-you-can-resist-insta-repeal-of-obamacare/

Who to write:

Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL)

230 South Dearborn Street, Suite 3900, Chicago, IL 606041480

Rep Adam Kinzinger (R-IL) does not support ACA.

2245 Rayburn HOB

Washington DC 20515

 

An Illinois district that needs support for 2018. Let’s get organized to canvass and support.

2018: Brad Schneider (D-IL 10th District)

Glenview, North Shore to the WI border

In the last election, Brad Schneider won his district by only 14,900 votes (5%).

 

Resource:

Source for districts that need our help

https://swingleft.org/

 

Source for IL health care advocates or non and their positions

http://resources.hdadvocates.org/health/IL-ACA-congressional-quotes.html

 

Illinois Reps/Senators and district maps

https://www.govtrack.us/congress/members/IL

Meeting and Writing Session #1

Welcome To ACT 2018, March 13th, 2017

We are a community of concerned citizens that work to keep our democracy a Democracy that is led by the majority of its citizens in the name of balance, justice and critical thinking. Our first meeting in March 2017 we wrote letters to Congress and here they are (we will document our week each month, please share the letter writing campaign and bring your friends to this blog and to Andersonville, Chicago):

#1 – Demand Independent Investigation of Trump Ties to Russia / Hacking/Trump-Russia US Elections investigation

Write three letters:

  1. Michael E. Horowitz, Inspector General for the Department of Justice (DOJ)
  2. Senate intelligence committee: Chairman, Richard Burr (R-N.C.)
  3. House intelligence committee: Chairman, Devin Nunes (R-Calif.)

 

Notes: The most crucial element is how committed the chairman is to uncovering the truth. “The real enemy to an investigation is the time that goes by,” says Bash, who helped oversee an investigation of the NSA’s warrantless wiretapping during his time with the house committee. “People lose interest. Other events intervene. The key thing is to get going fast. There are a hundred ways to slow down an investigation by people or agencies who don’t want it.”

* One Republican, Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine), has also said she is open to demanding the tax returns as part of the Senate probe.

Letter format: Intelligence Committees

Dear Sir (Madame) NAME/OFFICE,

#1

TO:  Senate intelligence committee: Chairman, Senator Richard Burr

 

#2

TO:  House intelligence committee: Chairman, Representative Devin Nunes

 

Date:

RE: Independent Review of Russia’s involvement in US Elections

 

You have taken an oath to support and defend the constitution of the United States against all enemies foreign and domestic and to faithfully discharge the duties of your office. Thus we demand that you appoint a special prosecutor to investigate allegations of contact between Russian officials and President Trump’s campaign aides. This is of the utmost importance, needs to be bi-partisan to completely resolve any potential foreign influence, previously and on-going, in US Elections and the US Government.

 

Sincerely,

(NAME)

 

ADDRESSES:

  1. Sen. Richard Burr

217 Russell Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510
P: (202) 224-3154

 

Local

Federal Building
151 Patton Avenue
Suite 204
Asheville, NC 28801
P: (828) 350-2437

 

  1. Representative Devin Nunes

Longworth House Office Building, Suite 1013
Washington, DC 20515
Main: (202) 225-2523

Local
264 Clovis Avenue
Suite 206
Clovis, CA 93612
Main: (559) 323-5235

#3 LETTER OIG:
TO: Michael E. Horowitz, Inspector General for the Department of Justice

 

Date:

RE: Independent Review of Russia’s involvement in US Elections
There cannot even be a shred of connection between our attorney general and the Russian government in terms of our elections and we demand that you immediately begin an investigation into Senator Jeff B. Sessions’s involvement to discover if he’s been compromised and appoint an independent counsel for investigations of Russia’s involvement in US Elections and ties to the Trump campaign.

 

Sincerely,

(NAME)

 

ADDRESSES:

OIG (DOJ)

U.S. Department of Justice
Office of the Inspector General
950 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.,
Suite 4706
Washington, D.C. 20530-0001

 

Regional OIG

U.S. Department of Justice
Office of the Inspector General
Chicago Regional Audit Office
CitiCorp Center
500 West Madison, Suite 1121
Chicago, IL 60661