HEALTHCARE / ACA
Indivisible: Conejo’s Healthcare/Affordable Care Act Issue Action Team recognizes that the immediate goal, for advocates of universal access to affordable healthcare, cannot be an expansion of government involvement beyond current policy. Single-payer healthcare is not a political possibility when the White House and Congress are controlled by Republicans. Instead, the immediate need is to fight Republicans’ attempts to dismantle the ACA and the consumer protections it provides. To that end, the team intends to:
- Engage with local lawmakers, both Democratic and Republican, to advocate against elimination of the ACA. Having already participated in demonstrations at the Simi Valley office of Republican Rep. Steve Knight (CA district 25), Indivisible: Conejo members will continue to pursue opportunities to communicate directly with him – and to support the efforts of our local Democrats to protect and improve the ACA.
- Develop public-communication strategies (including letters to the editor of local newspapers, and social-media engagement) that focus on specific coverage areas that would be put at risk with a dismantling of the ACA -- pre-existing conditions, coverage of young adults on parents’ policies, etc. -- and that personalize the need for affordable access to healthcare via real people’s stories.
- Pursue education and advocacy by partnering with local churches and community organizations, targeting opportunities to swing voters and gain new supporters of accessible health coverage.
- Monitor efforts within California’s state government (through Covered California and Medi-Cal) to i mprove the state’s healthcare exchange and ensure continued health-coverage accessibility even as the federal government places the ACA’s future in doubt.
Ever since the Affordable Care Act’s passage in 2010, Republicans have threatened to dismantle the system via lawsuits and more than four dozen repeal votes in the House of Representatives. Additionally, ACA opponents have engaged in various forms of sabotage designed to undercut the law’s effectiveness: states refusing to accept ACA’s Medicaid expansion or set up exchanges under the law, conservative groups encouraging healthy young people to flout the law’s individual mandate, etc.
Now that Republicans control both the White House and Congress, they are learning how difficult it will be, both politically and in terms of the healthcare system’s stability, to eliminate a law that has reached more than 30 million Americans. The Trump administration’s initial demand to “repeal and replace” the ACA within 100 days of the president’s inauguration has been scaled back on both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue, even as members of Congress have come under increasing pressure to save the system’s popular components and improve those elements that haven’t worked as well.