More coverage for more Americans at a lower cost. That was the goal of the Affordable Care Act, so-called Obamacare. The law hasn't been perfect, but it has led to more than 20 million Americans getting insurance coverage that didn't have it before. But that's all about to change with the election of President Donald Trump as his actions during his first days in office to repeal Obamacare at any cost. Here's how to protest the ACA repeal, if you're worried about the effects of a GOP-led replacement effort.
Trump "wants to take care of everybody," according to his first interview as president with ABC News, Vox reported. "Obamacare is a disaster. We're gonna come up with a new plan that's going to be better health care for more people at a lesser cost."
But as Vox pointed out, Congressional Republicans' plans won't cover more people, and will offer less coverage. CNN reported that a bill to replace Obamacare was proposed this week by Louisiana Sen. Bill Cassidy and Maine Sen. Susan Collins that essentially leaves the decisions about Obamacare to individual states — a proposal that quickly drew criticism from New York Sen. and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer. Schumer's office released a statement that read, in part, according to CNN:
Millions of Americans would be kicked off their plans, out-of-pocket costs and deductibles for consumers would skyrocket, employer-based coverage for working families would be disrupted, and protections for people with pre-existing conditions, such as cancer, would be gutted. All while the wealthiest few get a tax cut. It is nearly impossible to keep the benefits of the Affordable Care Act without keeping the whole thing.
If you're concerned about the future of healthcare in the U.S. following the repeal of Obamacare, here are a few steps you can take.
Those familiar with how Congressional offices work, like former staffer Emily Ellsworth, whose tweets about effective protest went viral, explain that phone calls are far more likely to get attention than social media posts or emails. They're just a bigger pain for Congressional staffers to handle and get more attention. She even shared this guide, "Calls the Halls," about the right way to contact your representative for maximum effect.
Another guide called Indivisible, which was developed and published by Congressional staffers, offers all kinds of practical advice for putting maximum pressure on your elected representatives. In addition to getting familiar with your representatives and their positions on the issues, showing up for local town hall meetings is another great way to get in front of them and make them hear you. Indivisible suggests showing up to town halls with a group, preparing questions ahead of time, and spread out across the room to "reinforce the impression of broad consensus."
Rally & March
Protest in the Trump era is becoming a common occurrence. Whether it's the Women's Marches, which drew more than a million protesters across the world, or smaller, more creative, shows of resistance. Recently protesters showed up at the Trump Tower's restaurant to stage a cough-in protest against the Obamacare repeal to interrupt lunch rush and make the point that healthcare is a right, according to the New York Daily News.
Share Your Story
There have been several remarkable examples of people who are going public with their stories about how Obamacare has saved their lives. These stories, many of which have gone viral, are important to help connect people with the lives repealing the Affordable Care Act will hurt. One of the most notable was the lifelong Republican, Jeff Jeans, who stood up to explain how Obamacare saved his life at Speaker of the House Paul Ryan's recent town hall meeting.
"I want to thank President Obama from the bottom of my heart because I would be dead if it weren't for him," he told Ryan, according to CNN.
With health care on the line for millions of Americans, it's time for people to get involved, make their voices heard, and demand action. It's the heart of our democracy, and the only way Americans can push back against the Trump Administration.