YOU pressured our Senators with “Repeal AND Replace”
January 4, 2017
With the imminent threat of an ACA repeal, in January and February, you sent over 700 letters, made over 3,000 calls, sent 1,500 e-mails, and held town halls and rallies across Tennessee. The Knoxville News Sentinel’s editorial board charged our representatives with being responsible leaders during the repeal debate after receiving baskets of letters to the editor from concerned citizens. 300 medical students wrote an open letter to our representatives in the Tennessean. Jessi Bohon, at Rep. Diane Black’s town hall in Murfreesboro, was in the national spotlight after making the faith-based defense of the ACA.
Senators Corker and Alexander: “Repeal AND Replace”
February 23, 2017
Even with mounting pressure from GOP to “replace and delay,” our Senators continue to voice concerns about any ACA repeal legislation without a replacement in the queue. Corker continued to be skeptical of the GOP’s strategy, and Senator Alexander stated, “As President-elect Trump has said Congress should replace and repeal at the same time, which requires figuring out how to replace it before fully repealing it.”
House GOP unveils the AHCA
March 7, 2017
Speaker of the House Rep. Paul Ryan unveiled the American Health Care Act. On March 12th, the Congressional Budget Office projected that 23 million more individuals would be uninsured by 2025 and Medicaid funding would be cut by $834 billion. When asked about the AHCA, Senator Corker said that the House plan “seems to be an important step in the right direction” and Senator Alexander was unequivocal in his support for the bill. Meanwhile, Congressmen such as Rep. Roe, Rep. Blackburn, and Rep. Black called the bill “good policy.” Governor Haslam stated that the AHCA has “the potential to help
YOU showed up to tell President Trump: “Protect Our Care!”
March 16, 2017
When President Trump arrived in Nashville on March 15th, he was greeted by thousands of Tennesseans who told our healthcare stories to press, who held signs highlighting the impact of the AHCA, and who took action to protect healthcare coverage for our neighbors. In March, you continued to push Tennessee in the national spotlight: you flooded our newspapers with over 43 letters to the editor, told your Medicaid and ACA stories including to the Washington Post, participated in educational webinars to hear current updates on legislation would affect older Tennesseans and rural Tennessee, and held press conferences, sending a collective messages to our representatives, including Senators Corker and
House pulls AHCA from the Floor
March 24, 2017
Due to enormous grassroots pressure from the Right and the Left, Speaker of the House Rep. Paul Ryan pulls the American Health Care Act from the House floor and states that, “Obamacare is the Law of the Land.”
YOU geared up FOR AHCA, Round TWO
April 24, 2017
You knew the House would be back with a worse bill; so, during April recess, you met with and called out your representatives and kept your representatives on speed dial. Your advocacy led CNN to cover the healthcare stories of those living in Knoxville, which eventually pushed Senators Alexander and Corker to admit that Tennesseans with Marketplace coverage needed special attention. Eventually, Senator Alexander stated a bipartisan proposal that would stabilize the markets was the most constructive solution.
House passes AHCA with a narrow vote
May 4, 2017
Concessions to the Freedom Caucus made the AHCA even harsher by undermining pre-existing condition protections and essential health benefits. Under intense pressure, enough moderates voted yes to pass the bill out of the House and send it to the Senate. Representatives such as Rep. Blackburn and Rep. Fleishmann called AHCA the “fulfillment of a promise” and “gives the American people what they deserve.” Immediately, Senator Corker responds saying the Senate will take “responsible, deliberate action.” Senator Alexander replies, “The Senate will write its own bill.” According to the Congressional Budget Office, AHCA would have cost TN’s state budget $500 million/year and increased the number
YOU held 11 candlelight vigils across Tennessee
May 5, 2017
Following the AHCA vote, Tennesseans across the state came together to send a message of solidarity to our Congressmen and to tell our Senators that Tennesseans would not back down. Participating cities included: Knoxville, Chattanooga, Memphis, Jackson, Clarksville, Gallatin, Murfreesboro, Tullahoma, Franklin, Cookeville, and Nashville.
Senate releases the BCRA
June 22, 2017
A working group of 13 male Senators, including Senator Alexander, drafted their version of the AHCA behind closed doors, bypassing the committee process and devoid of public input. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell told members they had to draft an ACA replacement bill and pass it before July 4th recess. On June 22nd, McConnell released the Senate’s Better Care Reconciliation Act, which would increase the number of uninsured Americans by 22 million and defund Medicaid by $772 billion.
YOU postponed the Senate vote
June 27, 2017
Throughout June, you held public forums on the American Health Care Act and rural hospital closures and told your stories from rural Tennessee, which resulted in CBS news covering Tennessee’s rural hospital closure crisis and the CEO of the Tennessee Hospital Association speaking out against the BCRA; held press conferences highlighting the impact of Medicaid cuts on families of children with special health care needs and Tennessee children in the foster system, submitted op-ed’s, and advocated for the people you love. As a result, Senator Corker complained to Senate leadership about the lack of transparency and said that his office was being flooded with
Senate votes yes on motion to proceed
July 25, 2017
After weeks of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s attempts to fast-track the BCRA with kickbacks and negotiations, Senate Republicans still could not agree on a healthcare reform plan. However, the motion to process on debate of the healthcare bill is successful, with Vice President Pence’s tie-breaking vote and Senators Alexander and Corker both voting yes. TJC’s Executive Director was quoted saying, the Senators “continue to play games that are more about politics and self interest than Tennessee’s children, seniors and people with disabilities.” During this time, Senator Alexander continues to make misleading claims about the BCRA. .
YOU pushed our Senators to vote NO
July 26, 2017
As the Senators began discussion on the Senate floor, you held prayer vigils, you delivered the names of over 1,500 of your neighbors who would be impacted by the bill to our Senators asking them to vote NO on any bill that would cut Medicaid and repeal the ACA. You stood up for what you believed was right despite politics and brought your concerns (and tractors) from your rural counties to the state capital. Although our Senators voted yes on the motion to proceed, Senator Corker was one of nine Republicans who voted against the BCRA and Senator Alexander voted no on the
Senate votes on “Skinny Repeal” bill
July 27, 2017
A couple of hours before the vote, Republican leadership releases its so called “Skinny Bill.” The “Skinny Repeal” bill would have repealed the individual and employer mandates and repealed the medical device tax and cut Medicaid by $220 billion over ten years. Still, without any public hearings, the Senate votes on the bill after midnight on the 27th.
YOU saved the ACA!!!
July 28, 2017
By a vote of 49-51, the “Skinny Repeal” bill failed to pass the Senate with Senators Collins, McCain, and Murkowski defecting alongside all Democrat Senators. You rose to the challenge, you shed light on Medicaid cuts to seniors, you made signs, you read policy blogs, and you fought to save the ACA and protect Medicaid. Although Senators Corker and Alexander both voted yes, within days, Senator Alexander released a statement that his committee would hold a series of hearings aimed at crafting bipartisan legislation to shore up ACA markets. The voice of ordinary Tennesseans and advocacy organizations was loud, strong and impactful.