The Affordable Care Act is the law of the land, but the fight for comprehensive reform is just beginning. Your federal, state and local officials need to know that you want full and fair health reform for people living with and at risk for HIV and AIDS. Here are three top issues you can take action on, and some ideas for how you can get involved.
1. Health care reform is under attack in Congress and the court system. One reason is that many individuals don’t fully understand the benefits of the law and how it has already begun to make a difference for many Americans, including many with HIV. Learn more. ·
One great way to help defend health care reform is to educate yourself and those you care for about the benefits of health care reform. It is also important to talk to your elected officials about the difference health care reform will make in your life and urge them to support it.
You can also make sure key provisions of health reform are adequately funded and protected against repeal. There have already been many proposals to reduce funding for pieces of health care reform or repeal certain parts of the law altogether, like:
• The Prevention and Public Health Fund
• The Medicaid “Maintenance of Effort” requirement
• Community health center investments
The Supreme Court & Health Reform: The U.S. Supreme Court will consider in 2012 a court case that challenges the constitutionality of the individual mandate. Not quite sure what that means? We weren’t either until our crack legal team at Harvard Law School Center for Health Law and Policy Innovation shared this paper. Give it a one-over, and you’ll be ready take on anyone who says the Commerce Clause of the Constitution doesn’t apply to health care reform.
2. Defend Medicaid and Medicare: Come 2014, these two public programs will deliver health care to most people living with HIV, and both are under attack by opponents of health care reform. Medicaid is the more vulnerable program since it serves the lowest income Americans. Learn how you can defend Medicaid. ·
Defend Medicaid at the State & Federal Level (PDF), November 2011, Presentation by Harvard Law School Center for Health Law & Policy Innovation/Treatment Access Expansion Project, U.S. Conference on AIDS.
Check out the Medicaid Defense toolkit for everything you need to help Congress get the message that cutting the health safety net will hurt low-income Americans, and our nation as a whole. Whether you need a quick script for calling Congress or the essential steps of how to organize a meeting with your U.S. representative or senator, the toolkit can help. Here’s what you’ll find in our toolkit:
◦ Sample Letters to the Editor
◦ Sample Action Alert
◦ Impact of Medicaid Cuts in key Congressional Districts and States
3. Sensible deficit reduction: Nationally, politicians are debating reducing the federal deficit—the difference between how much the federal government spends and earns through taxes and other income. Learn more. ·
Some members of Congress and other leaders propose reducing the deficit through spending cuts alone without seeking additional revenue through taxes or other fees.
We believe cuts must be balanced with new revenue to ensure that low-income and vulnerable Americans alone do not bear the burden of reducing the deficit. Drastic cuts also run the risk of destroying the health care safety net and decimating the coverage expansions planned under health care reform. You can follow the debate on Families USA’s “Health Care Faces the Budget Battle” site.
Get in the loop: learn the issues, get the most up-to-date information and easily communicate with your elected officials
- Find your state’s health reform advocacy organization (click on your state and then select key health contacts)
Tell your story: How will access to quality affordable health care affect you? Use this handy worksheet to figure out the most effective way to tell your story and share it with legislators, the media, and your community.
- Contact your legislators: simply enter your address to find the name and contact information for your federal and state officials
- Educate those you care for about health care reform and ask them to get active