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View our updated FAQ and health reform statement and take action!
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March 30, 2017 | Volume 21, No. 5 | Archives
Advocacy Works. Let's Keep It Going.
March ended up being a roller coaster of activity because of the American Health Care Act. Thanks to an intense advocacy campaign from countless people and organizations, the law that would have caused 24 million people to lose health insurance did not come to pass. “We’re going to be living with Obamacare for the foreseeable future” said House Speaker Ryan to reporters shortly after his Obamacare repeal bill collapsed. However, there’s still a need to reform the health care system, and there are still plenty of challenges to ensuring health and housing for everyone. There’s more information below, but see our updated Frequently Asked Questions and the Council’s statement on health reform
View Updated FAQ
March Roundup
Health Care
  • March was consumed by controversy over the failed American Health Care Act, which would have ended the Medicaid expansion and imposed limited per capita caps or block grants to states as a financing substitute for the whole program (along with many other harmful provisions). Congress eventually pulled the bill after it became clear they could not get enough votes to pass it. Whether Congress takes new steps to repeal/replace the ACA is unclear. 
  • Seema Verma was confirmed as Administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). Learn 10 Things you Didn’t Know about Seema Verma.
  • HHS Secretary Tom Price and Verma sent a letter to Governors on Medicaid, encouraging states to charge premiums and copays, and implement work requirements at all income levels. Learn more about work requirements. 
Trump Administration
  • President Trump released his Year 2018 budget recommendations on discretionary funding. View a breakdown. Remember, Trump’s budget is only a recommendation—Congress will determine what the budget really looks like. Read how Trump Budget Will Increase Homelessness and watch How Advocates Can Stop Trump’s Cut to HUD in its Tracks. Items of particular concern in Trump’s budget include:
    • Cuts the already struggling HUD budget by $6.2 Billion, 13% less than current levels. Eliminates HOME, Community Development Block Grant, and the Choice Neighborhood programs that provide state grants for affordable housing and other development. It also would cut Housing Choice vouchers, public housing, and other housing programs.
    • Cuts Health and Human Services budget by $15 Billion, 18% less than current levels, with reductions to the Low Income Home and Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), the mental health block grant, the community services block grant, HIV funding programs, and public health programs. 
    • Eliminates the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness.
  • Ben Carson was confirmed as Secretary of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Read about Carson’s Controversial First Public Remarks as HUD Secretary.
Council Policy Events and Publications
  • New Issue Brief: Insurance Coverage at HCH Projects, 2013-2015. Patients at HCH projects were five times more likely to gain insurance coverage if they lived in Medicaid expansion states. Find out how your state has changed insurance coverage for HCH patients, and why Medicaid is vital for people who are homeless.
  • Health Reform Webinar: Thursday, April 20, 1-2 ET: The National HCH Council will host a health reform webinar that describes the current state of affairs and what you can do to help push for needed change. Register here.
  • Health Reform Pre-conference Institute: On Wednesday, June 21, 2017, the Council’s annual conference will include a PCI dedicated to health reform and the HCH community. This event is designed to provide the latest information on what’s happening and how we can best move forward to provide high-quality care during a tumultuous time.
On the Horizon in D.C.
  • ACA Repeal and Replace: With the defeat of the American Health Care Act, it is unclear what next steps—if any—will be taken to repeal, replace, and/or change the Affordable Care Act, which remains in effect. (We’ll cover more in our upcoming webinar!)
  • 2017 Budget: On April 28 a government-wide temporary funding bill for Year 2017 expires. Congress must pass another spending bill or extension for the remainder of the year, or the government will shut down.
  • 2018 Budget: The new 2018 budget year begins October 2017. An initial budget from the Trump Administration cuts block grant programs and makes cuts to numerous HUD programs, which could increase homelessness. Around May we expect Trump to release the remainder of his budget recommendations (on mandatory spending, taxes, etc.) and Congress to work on their annual budget resolution (a precursor for passing the final budget). Priority items include funding for health centers and other HRSA funding, housing vouchers and other HUD funding, and funding for opioid disorders and other SAMHSA funding. We’ll also be on the look-out for changes to SNAP (food stamps) and Medicaid.
Advocacy Works
Want to know whether your advocacy works? Congressional offices were overwhelmed by calls, emails, tweets, and other contacts over the American Health Care Act. One Hill staffer wrote that his office usually gets 120-200 calls a week, but those numbers have doubled this year. We asked Hill staff how the HCH Community can best be heard, and this is what we got: "One of the best ways to influence a Member of Congress is to hear from people on the ground in their state or district, especially health providers and people who count on health care that’s at risk." They emphasized that even small things, like making a phone call, gets the attention of their boss, especially when call lines are busy. When a multitude of calls comes in from people worried about the latest health care bill, “everyone in the office knows about it.”
    On the Single-Payer Front
      What We're Reading
        Medicaid Stories of the Month
        "Medicaid has helped me in so many ways. I get all my medical needs met. I go to the dentist every six months for a teeth cleaning. All my meds are delivered to my house, which I'm thankful for because I do not have a car. I also have therapy and counseling. When I go to the emergency room my bills are covered. Without Medicaid I could not afford those bills if I had to!"
           Community Health Link, Worcester, Massachusetts
        "There are so many people who fight poverty—they have nowhere to stay and they have little food. They are often in survival mode for years. By the time I see them in a medical clinic setting, it’s the first time they think about their cholesterol or their blood pressure and get into a space where they can grasp that. Most patients I have met would give anything to be able to work and earn every bit they can. Most people want to work and they’ll do anything, but there are physical and mental inabilities sometimes. I’m seeing patients who would have sought treatment three years earlier at a less advanced stage of disease and would not have been so sick, and would have a higher survival rate and better quality of life. Many would have returned to work if it was caught earlier. By having a Medicaid benefit, they are able to stay healthier and in the workforce for much longer."
         Cecile Martin, FNP
           St. Joseph’s Mercy Care, Atlanta, Georgia
        Did you receive Mobilizer as a forwarded email or hear about it via social media? Register now to receive our action alerts each month!
        Sign Up for Mobilizer
        Regina Reed, MPH
        National Health Policy Organizer
        National HCH Council
        Baltimore, MD
        (443) 703-1337 
        Take Action!
        Congressional Recess April 16-21
        Members will be on break from D.C. and back home in their respective districts. Here’s what you should be doing to prepare:
        Invite your member for a site visit: You can use our example invitation letter. Already have a visit on the calendar? Let us know and tweet us a photo @NatlHCHcouncil
        View Example Letter
        Attend a town hall meeting: Find a running list of town halls. Showing up and introducing yourself is powerful in and of itself. Or better yet, ask them how they plan to protect Medicaid coverage and health center funding so that low income and vulnerable populations can receive the health care they deserve. 
        View Events
        Sign up for your member’s newsletter: Signups are on members’ web pages (find your members’ page for House and Senate).
        Find Your Rep.
        Find Your Senator
        State-Level Action
        States can get approval for Medicaid work requirements, premiums and other out of pocket costs, and health savings accounts at all income levels.
        If you are worried about your state putting these requirements into place, call, write or email your Governor and explain why these provisions don’t work well for very poor people.
        If your state has not yet expanded Medicaid, ask your Governor when that can happen now that the health care landscape has changed. There’s at least 50 reasons why Medicaid expansion is good for states—remind them why. Use HCH data on health coverage.
        March for Science on Saturday, April 22: Concerned about proposed cuts to medical and scientific research? Worried that data and real facts are no longer valued? Providing high-quality health care requires a basis in research, evidence-based practices, and sound data. Attend the Science March in Washington DC on Saturday, April 22, or attend one of the many satellite marches near you. Science says: Housing is Health Care! Tweet us your great signs @NatlHCHcouncil.
        Get Started
        Plan a Summer Solstice Event on or around June 21: Homelessness is not permanent. Designed to complement Homeless Persons’ Memorial Day on December 21, the Summer Solstice celebrates those who have overcome homelessness and affirms that we can end homelessness for everyone. Use this day to advocate for increased resources for housing and support services. Learn how to plan your own event in our upcoming webinar on April 18. Invite your local elected officials and start a campaign!
        Learn More
        Local Features
        Why the American Health Care Act Takes Us in the Wrong Direction featuring Nilesh Kalyanaraman, MD, Chief Health Officer, Health Care for the Homeless, Baltimore, Maryland
        Successfully Connecting People Affected by Opioid Use to Housing featuring Rachel Post, Public Policy Director, Central City Concern, Portland, Oregon
        This publication and all HCH advocacy are funded by dues from Organizational Members of the Council. Consider joining the Council to support this work.
        Donate Now!
        National Heatlh Care for the Homeless Council
        PO Box 60427 | Nashville, TN 37206 US
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