Sen. Dianne Feinstein
DC: (202) 224-3841
LA: (310) 914-7300
Sen. Kamala Harris
DC: (202) 224-3553
LA: (213) 894-5000
Hello, my name is __________, and I am a constituent of Senator ___________'s in _______________, California. I am calling to urge the Senator to do everything possible to block Republican action on the Graham-Cassidy healthcare bill. That includes withholding consent on the advancing of Senate business and objecting to all unanimous-consent requests, as well as offering an endless stream of amendments to slow progress toward a final vote. Republicans have two weeks to get this bill done -- so it's up to you to run out the clock and save health coverage for tens of millions of Americans. Thank you!
Senators Lindsay Graham (SC) and Bill Cassidy (LA) have built momentum within the Repubican caucus for their last-ditch effort to kill off the Affordable Care Act. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell -- who for weeks had been trying to move on from healthcare to tax reform -- has told other Republicans they should "jump onboard" with Graham-Cassidy. And because Trump took the GOP Congress' two biggest September agenda items off the table earlier this month, giving in to Democrats' demands on a budget resolution and temporary debt-ceiling increase, Republicans have little other business over the next two weeks.
Unfortunately, Graham-Cassidy is perhaps the worst Trumpcare proposal yet. It would, among other things:
- Convert federal healthcare spending under the ACA into block grants (lump-sum payments) to the states
- Eliminate the ACA’s subsidies for private insurance
- End the Medicaid expansion
- Eliminate the federally mandated health-insurance marketplaces
- Eliminate many protections for citizens with pre-existing conditions
- Allow states to seek waivers that let insurers charge sick patients higher premiums
- Allow states to stop covering "essential benefits" defined under the ACA, such as maternity care or prescription drugs
- Allow states to fund high-risk pools rather than spend their federal dollars to help residents obtain full-fledged insurance coverage
Still, two weeks is a narrow window in which to pass legislation -- and that timetable will be constricted further by the wait for a "score" on Graham-Cassidy from the Congressional Budget Office. Republicans must pass the bill by September 30, or lose their ability to ram it through with only 51 votes via "reconciliation" because of arcane Senate budget rules.
As Republicans try to build momentum toward a vote, Democrats have numerous options for slowing down Senate procedures and running out the clock. For example, they can use the filibuster and the act of "withholding consent." The Senate operates on a labyrinth of rules, which routinely are waived so the chamber can get on with its business more quickly. By refusing to waive the rules, Democrats can slow the Senate to a crawl for the next two weeks.