Rally in support of the Patient Protection Act
Rally in Support of the Affordable Care Act, at The White House, Washington, DC USA, see https://www.facebook.com/events/1425620610816402/

Edi­tor’s Note: The fol­low­ing was trans­mit­ted by fac­sim­i­le this evening to the offices of Dave Reichert, Greg Walden, Dan New­house, and Cathy McMor­ris Rodgers. All of the afore­men­tioned indi­vid­u­als rep­re­sent por­tions of Wash­ing­ton and Ore­gon in the Unit­ed States House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives as Repub­li­cans. We are repub­lish­ing this com­mu­ni­ca­tion here on the Cas­ca­dia Advo­cate as an open letter.

Dear Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Reichert, McMor­ris Rodgers, New­house, and Walden:

Tomor­row, at the behest of Don­ald Trump, the House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives is poised to vote on a bill that would evis­cer­ate the Patient Pro­tec­tion and Afford­able Care Act, signed into law sev­en years ago today by Pres­i­dent Barack Obama.

We implore you to put the good of our region and our coun­try before par­ty and vote against this dis­as­trous, ill-con­ceived legislation.

You may not have sup­port­ed the Patient Pro­tec­tion Act or vot­ed for it when it was before Con­gress in 2010, but it has been a life­saver for count­less Amer­i­cans, includ­ing many of your own con­stituents. Despite glitch­es with its imple­men­ta­tion, the law has helped mil­lions of peo­ple gain access to sore­ly need­ed healthcare.

Many of the Amer­i­cans who ben­e­fit most from the Patient Pro­tec­tion Act work long hours at mul­ti­ple jobs, or are busy car­ing for ill rel­a­tives, or are rais­ing their chil­dren. They sim­ply do not have time to reach out to you to explain how pas­sage of H.R. 1628 would hurt them. They do not have the means to employ pro­fes­sion­al lob­by­ists who can speak for them and advo­cate for them.

But they are pre­cise­ly the peo­ple you should be think­ing of as tomor­row’s vote approach­es. Each one of them has a story.

Kandy Kim­ble of Kit­ti­tas Coun­ty is one of the Pacif­ic North­west­ern­ers whose lives have been pro­found­ly changed for the bet­ter by the Patient Pro­tec­tion Act.

“Self-employed for many years, she went with­out health insur­ance, plan­ning to wait a few more years until she was eli­gi­ble for Medicare,” explained Gov­er­nor Jay Inslee’s office in a Medi­um post pub­lished short­ly after the new year.

“In 2014, she had a health emer­gency when eight bleed­ing ulcers were found. A three-day hos­pi­tal stay in inten­sive care result­ed in a bill of almost $70,000. After she was dis­charged, she sought insur­ance cov­er­age through Wash­ing­ton Health­plan­find­er, the insur­ance exchange.”

“She was lat­er diag­nosed with a life-threat­en­ing heart con­di­tion. Thanks to her insur­ance, she is able to receive the med­ica­tion she needs and reg­u­lar­ly vis­it with a car­di­ol­o­gist. Kandy will be eli­gi­ble for Medicare this September.”

The Con­gres­sion­al Bud­get Office esti­mates that gut­ting the Patient Pro­tec­tion Act will result in tens of mil­lions of peo­ple los­ing their health insur­ance nation­wide.

A few days ago, those of you rep­re­sent­ing dis­tricts in Wash­ing­ton received a let­ter from Gov­er­nor Inslee and Insur­ance Com­mis­sion­er Mike Krei­dler warn­ing that H.R. 1628 would be cat­a­stroph­ic for the Ever­green State.

They summed up the dire con­se­quences as fol­lows:

  • 700,000 peo­ple will lose cov­er­age (600,000 through Med­ic­aid, up to 100,000 in the indi­vid­ual health insur­ance market)
  • The unin­sured rate will go up from 5.8 per­cent to 15 per­cent — high­er than before the ACA and high­er than pro­jec­tions of ACA repeal with no replacement
  • To cov­er those los­ing Med­ic­aid cov­er­age would cost the state $1.3 bil­lion per year by 2023 ($1.8 bil­lion by 2028)
  • A new penal­ty is put in place when a con­sumer or patient tries to pur­chase insur­ance after a break in coverage.

The Ore­gon Health Author­i­ty (OHA) and the Depart­ment of Con­sumer and Busi­ness Ser­vices (DCBS) say the impact to the Beaver State will be sim­i­lar­ly awful.

Their analy­sis finds that Trump­cuts would:

  • Reduce cov­er­age: As many as 465,000 Ore­go­ni­ans will lose health cov­er­age, includ­ing approx­i­mate­ly 80,000 next year. Oregon’s unin­sured rate will triple from 5 per­cent to more than 15 percent.
  • Reduce fed­er­al fund­ing: To main­tain Med­ic­aid enroll­ment, we esti­mate the AHCA [Trump­cuts] would shift $190 mil­lion in costs to Ore­gon start­ing in 2020 approach­ing $1 bil­lion in 2023. The cumu­la­tive cost shift would be $2.6 bil­lion over the next six years.
  • Reduce eco­nom­ic activ­i­ty: [Trump­cuts] risks the loss of more than 23,300 health care jobs that were cre­at­ed in Ore­gon after the ACA was implemented.

But per­haps what is most damn­ing about H.R. 1628 is that the Con­gres­sion­al Bud­get Office has cal­cu­lat­ed that H.R. 1628 would actu­al­ly result in more peo­ple being unin­sured than if the Patient Pro­tec­tion Act were sim­ply repealed.

“One mil­lion more Amer­i­cans would have health insur­ance with a clean repeal than with the Repub­li­can replace­ment plan, accord­ing to CBO esti­mates,” not­ed The New York Times’ Mar­got Sanger-Katz in a report pub­lished two days ago. This find­ing alone is rea­son enough to vote down this immoral, irre­spon­si­ble legislation.

Research shows that Amer­i­cans are resound­ing­ly opposed to H.R. 1628.

Respect­ed poll­ster Quin­ni­pac report­ed today that 56% of respon­dents sur­veyed are opposed to Trump­cuts, with only 17% in favor. That’s a three-to-one mar­gin. Every age demo­graph­ic, gen­der, and eth­nic­i­ty oppos­es the bill, Quin­ni­pac says.

Your col­league Jaime Her­rera-Beut­ler has already decid­ed to vote no on H.R. 1628 as present­ly con­sti­tut­ed. “In the final analy­sis, this bill falls short,” she declared in a state­ment released by her office today.

Your col­league Char­lie Dent of Penn­syl­va­nia went even fur­ther with his appraisal.

“I believe this bill, in its cur­rent form, will lead to the loss of cov­er­age and make insur­ance unaf­ford­able for too many Amer­i­cans, par­tic­u­lar­ly for low-to-mod­er­ate income and old­er indi­vid­u­als,” he said, offer­ing a blunt assess­ment.

Rep­re­sen­ta­tives, in med­i­cine, there is an axiom that guides the work of doc­tors, nurs­es, and care­givers: First, do no harm. Trump­cuts woe­ful­ly fails this pre­cept and deserves to be reject­ed by the U.S. House.

On behalf of the board and staff of the North­west Pro­gres­sive Insti­tute and in sol­i­dar­i­ty with the mil­lions of Amer­i­cans opposed to Trump­cuts, I urge you to put the peo­ple of our region and coun­try first by vot­ing NO on H.R. 1628.


Andrew Vil­leneuve
Founder and exec­u­tive director
North­west Pro­gres­sive Institute

Robert Cruick­shank
Ren­nie Sawade
Oper­a­tions Director
Gael Tar­leton
Vice President-Secretary
Dominic Bar­rera
Staff Writer
Gar­rett Havens
Greg Evans
Grass­roots Organizer
Ralph Gorin
Chris­t­ian Cahua
Research Analyst
Essie Hicks
Kaylinne Shaf­fer
Staff Writer
Rick Heg­dahl
Patrick Stick­ney
Mario Brown

About the author

Andrew Villeneuve is the founder and executive director of the Northwest Progressive Institute, as well as the founder of NPI's sibling, the Northwest Progressive Foundation. He has worked to advance progressive causes for over two decades as a strategist, speaker, author, and organizer. Andrew is also a cybersecurity expert, a veteran facilitator, a delegate to the Washington State Democratic Central Committee, and a member of the Climate Reality Leadership Corps.

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