Health care workers: Save the ACA individual mandate
Rally in support of Affordable Care Act, February 25, Washington. Ted Eytan, flickr, CC BY-SA 2.0.

LOS ANGELES — Among the many anti-worker failings of the GOP tax bill, the inclusion of a repeal of the ACA individual mandate is particularly heinous.

UNAC/UHCP President Denise Duncan, RN, issued the following statement about the Republican tax bill:

“Health care in the United States is about to be completely dismantled.

“After several attempts to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA) failed earlier this year in the Senate, the Republicans regrouped and then slipped a repeal of the individual mandate into the tax bill. A non-partisan analysis found 13 million people would lose access to health care through the mandate repeal. Now a conference committee made up of representatives from the U.S. House and Senate have created a final bill that includes the repeal of the individual mandate.”

Republican leaders promised that two bills to mitigate the damage of the repeal of individual mandate would receive a vote. But the bills have little chance of becoming law. Even if they pass the Senate, they would have to be approved by the U.S. House that has shown great disdain for access to health care. And should a bill reach the President’s desk, he’s made no secret of his hatred for the Affordable Care Act.

“We urge Republicans eager to vote for a tax bill that will rob millions of health care access, to consider the recent vote in Maine to expand Affordable Care Act eligibility. Nearly 60% of Maine voters supported an ACA expansion to give 80,000 more people access to health care.

“While a majority in Maine support increasing the number covered under the Affordable Care Act, only 12% of Americans supported the Senate ACA repeal bill in June which would have resulted in millions losing coverage. Take the individual mandate repeal out of the tax bill while you still have the chance. Voting for it is a losing issue with your constituents—and for the patients and their families who will suffer as result of being uninsured.”

Duncan enumerated the GOP’s attacks on health care so far this year: First, the President did everything in his power to sabotage the Affordable Care Act. He cut cost sharing reduction payments, increasing uncertainty in the market and causing insurance premiums within the health care exchange plans to rise. He slashed the open enrollment advertising budget 90%. He shortened the enrollment period by six weeks. The system was beginning to work, but when insurance companies began to take advantage of the turmoil to increase premiums, the system really began to falter. These attacks have greatly weakened the Affordable Care Act markets, by design.

The fight against the GOP tax cut for the rich and big business continues.

United Nurses Associations of California/Union of Health Care Professionals (UNAC/UHCP) represents over 30,000 registered nurses and other health care professionals in California including, optometrists; pharmacists; physical, occupational and speech therapists; case managers; nurse midwives; social workers; clinical lab scientists; physician assistants and nurse practitioners.

Barbara Russum contributed to this article.


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People’s World is a voice for progressive change and socialism in the United States. It provides news and analysis of, by, and for the labor and democratic movements to our readers across the country and around the world. People’s World traces its lineage to the Daily Worker newspaper, founded by communists, socialists, union members, and other activists in Chicago in 1924.