Friday, January 14, 2011

Wed, Jan 19: Voting Date to Repeal health care reform


The leadership in the House of Representatives have just set Wednesday, January 19 as the new date for a vote to fully repeal health care reform.

Let's call this what it is: political theater.

Although it's almost certain that Republicans in the House have enough of a majority to pass this stunt of a bill, there's no chance it will get past both the Democratically-controlled Senate and the veto pen of President Obama. (You can read my full analysis of the threats of repeal or defunding of health care reform on the Greater NYC for Change website.) But if they can use the political controversy to stop the health care reform law from getting popular as more and more Americans are directly experiencing the benefits, they'll create the political room to continue to go after the law in the future, the ability to continue using it as an election issue in 2012 and beyond, and perhaps some maneuverability in dismantling some small part of it to placate corporate interests even before then.

And of course if they're voting to take our health care reform away and there's no outcry, the least confident supporters of reform will start to nervous enough to weigh their options.

Here's how you can help defend the health care reform law we fought so hard to pass.

Step One: Call your House Representative.

Call 1-(888)-876-6242 and tell your Member of Congress you don't want to see time wasted on health care reform repeal -- there's too much real work to be done to create new jobs and turn the economy around.

Step Two: Forward this to others.

If you have any friends in districts outside the Democratic strongholds of New York City (like Michael Grimm's district in Brooklyn and Staten Island), please ask them to call 1-(888)-876-6242 today. Likely every newly-elected Republican will vote in lock-step with this theatrical stunt – even though if it were serious, this bill would put their constituents' health care back into the hands of the insurance industry. They need to hear from people in their districts that this is not acceptable.

Step Three: Educate, educate, educate.

Write a Letter to the Editor to help spread good information about the law and spell out exactly what benefits the House Republicans are attempting to repeal.

Go to the non-partisan Kaiser Family Foundation's Health Reform Implementation Timeline and look at the benefits that phase in this year. Guaranteed, you'll see one of them that applies to you or someone you know. Write a very brief (fewer than 150 words) letter about that benefit and why it should not be repealed, and email it with your contact information to the city's major newspapers:

The New York Times:
The NY Daily News:
The NY Post:

(And let us know if you get published!)

The Affordable Care Act is already making a difference in the lives of New Yorkers, and will have a dramatic impact for the good if it's allowed to be implemented in a responsible way. But now's not the time to sit back and think our work is done. It took grassroots pressure to get the law passed at all, and it will take our continued pressure to make our goal of quality, affordable health care for all a reality.

Tim Foley
Greater NYC for Change

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