Colorful Commentary

Federal Budget Watch, May 5

Posted May 5, 2017 by Samantha Curran

binoculars-954021_1280With the American Healthcare Act (AHCA) passing in the House yesterday, we wanted to take a quick moment to thank you all for your hard work and efforts to defeat this bill. Although we did not get the outcome we wanted, it’s worth taking a moment to acknowledge the true successes we’ve had in postponing this passage in the House for as long as we did. With that, we would like to share a message with you from our partners at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP) on what’s next.

We now move into the next phase of our efforts as this bill heads to the Senate. We will continue to share additional information and updates, but for now, there are a few important things to know about what we expect in the coming weeks and months:

  • The Senate cannot take up this without a score from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) – this score will provide fiscal and coverage impact of this bill
  • From what we understand today, we don’t expect to see that score for a week or two – but once it is released, it will be a very important data point that we will want to collectively lift up
  • While this timeline could very well change, preliminary reports are that the Senate may not take this bill up until June
  • That being said, it is very important to note that we have direct reports that Senate conversations around this bill are well underway – that means key decisions could start being made as early as the next week or two
  • The above point underscores that there will be plenty to do to affect this vote in the near future through additional action and outreach.

While the Republicans have a much smaller margin to contend with than in the House (they only need 51 votes to pass it), we must assume that Sen. McConnell will put together a package that can garner those 51 votes. Much of the conversation around this bill’s prospects in the Senate from pundits and other news media has centered on the fact that it “can’t pass in the Senate” and it’s “dead on arrival in the Senate.”

This line of message is extremely worrying for two reasons:

  1. It allows anyone not following this extremely closely to think this fight is over – that our work is done and we know that to not be true
  2. There is a real and grave risk that the Senate makes a number of changes to the bill, but leaves the most harmful elements of the bill intact. The most glaring example of this is the Senate leaving in the potential for Per capita caps – which would end Medicaid as we know it.

Another example of this is that many Republican Senators are already on record saying they oppose the House bill “as is” and that it needs changes.

We MUST hold Senators accountable for changing the specific, harmful provisions in this bill – rather than allowing them a pass in saying “they don’t support the House bill”. This will make it easier for them to make several changes that either don’t affect the real policy issues with this bill, or make them worse, and pass it while claiming they have changed it.

We must ask Senators to oppose ANY bill or measure in the bill that:

  • Causes millions of Americans to lose healthcare coverage
  • Ends Medicaid expansion funding in states
  • And ends Medicaid as we know it through the use block grants and PCCs to shift costs to states

Please take a moment to read President and founder of CBPP, Bob Greenstein’s, statement on the passage of this bill:

Thank you once again for your tireless energy and work – we live to fight another day and despite today’s vote in the House we are still better positioned than we imagined we would be several months ago. That is due to your hard work and successes to date.


Contact info for Colorado congressional delegation:

Sen. Cory Gardner – 303-391-5777  Email here.

Sen. Michael Bennet – 303-455-7600 / 866-455-9866 Email here.

Rep. Diana DeGette (CO District 1) –  303-844-4988 Email here.

Rep. Jared Polis (CO District 2) – 303-484-9596  Email here.

Rep. Scott Tipton (CO District 3) – 970-241-2499 Email here.

Rep. Ken Buck (CO District 4) – 970-702-2136   Email here.

Rep. Doug Lamborn (CO District 5) – 719-520-0055   Email here.

Rep. Mike Coffman (CO District 6) – 720-748-7514  Email here.

Rep. Ed Perlmutter  (CO District 7) – 303-274-7944 Email here.

Leave a Reply

WordPress Image Lightbox