National Call In Day TODAY!!

Join frontline healthcare workers - physicians, nurses, nursing home and home health workers - in a National Call-In Day to tell Congress to vote NO on the healthcare bill and stand up for Medicaid. Here is a link for a social media toolkit with customizable content to help spread the word. Call 866-426-2631, and tell Congress to #VoteNo and #SaveMedicaid. 

Or use this reference sheet with phone numbers and social media graphics to contact key senators.
 
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  • Or make a DONATION NOW! We at Consumer Health First are totally committed to our efforts to address the constant attacks on the ACA, which provides critical access to coverage and care and establishes essential consumer protections. This work is consuming all of our time and resources. We look to you, our partners, to help fund this important work. Thank you!

The Consumer Freedom Act

Congress returned to Capitol Hill yesterday after a 10-day recess. Many of them avoided their constituents' concerns about the healthcare legislation, while those who conducted town halls  got an earful.

But now they're back, and facing some tough negotiations. Senators Ted Cruz and Mike Lee have introduced an amendment to the bill, which is being analyzed by the CBO and may be released as early as Thursday. Known as the Consumer Freedom Act , it would allow the sale of lower cost healthcare plans that don't comply with existing ACA regulations, alongside ACA-compliant  plans with protections for pre-existing conditions and other minimum benefits. Experts warn that it would split the market and create separate risk pools, leaving many of those who need full-coverage plans  unable to afford them.

Popular with the more conservative members of the Senate, the Consumer Freedom Act may end up with a poor CBO rating, or it might fail the reconciliation rules -   particularly the Byrd Rule - altogether.

Facing the possibility of being unable to  garner  the votes needed to pass any healthcare legislation in the next two weeks, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell hinted that the GOP might need to work out a bipartisan agreement to shore up the ACA insurance markets.

To add a bit more confusion, Senator Ted Cruz, who is emerging as the salesman for the "new" healthcare bill, suggested that if the bill fails, Congress should fully repeal the ACA and then work on a replacement plan, an idea that has been roundly criticized by members of both parties.

Confused about which senators favor which proposals? Here's a whip sheet to help you understand where they stand, why it's going to be difficult for the Senate to pass the bill with only two votes to spare, and why it's important to keep calling the senators on this list
More News You Can Use...
  • While Congress fiddles and Rome burns, a new analysis from The Kaiser Family Foundation finds that the ACA markets are stabilizing and insurers are regaining profitability.
  • new study by the Urban Institute found that the Senate's Better Care Reconciliation Act (BCRA) would drive up the uninsured rate in every U.S. state - by more than 300% in some states and by 128% in Maryland.
  • Here are 9 Damning Charts outlining the devastating impact that BCRA would have on individuals and the economy.
  • And in case you missed it, we put together a series of Fact Sheets and Tables, showing exactly how this legislation would impact Maryland and Marylanders. 
  • The Senate bill would radically change the Medicaid coverage that several million children with special medical needs depend on.  Per capita spending caps could be financially and medically devastating to children with life-long conditions such as cerebral palsy, cystic fibrosis and autism.
  • And CHIP is about to sunset. There is no word yet on whether the Children's Health Insurance Plan, which is set to end on September 1, will be renewed. CHIP covers 8.4 million low-income children, many of whom have serious, chronic conditions. 
  • The Maryland Insurance Administration published a Bulletin last week summarizing all of the insurance laws enacted in 2017, including a law that allows pharmacists to prescribe certain kinds of birth control beginning in 2019 and the HOPE and Treatment Act that greatly expands the tools available to the state to address the opioid crisis. 
  • Georgia OB-GYN named to the CDC - Dr. Brenda Fitzgerald, who has led Georgia's Department of Health for the last 6 years, has been appointed director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Dr. Fitzgerald is a strong advocate for childhood vaccinations and other prevention efforts, but faces a daunting challenge given the drastic budget cuts proposed by the Trump administration.
  • We bid a very fond farewell - to Carmela Coyle who is leaving her position as President and CEO of the Maryland Hospital Association after nine years to take the helm of the California Hospital Association. Our loss is most definitely California's gain!
We're Hiring!

Consumer Health First (CHF) seeks a visionary leader who is dedicated to the mission of health equity to serve as its Executive Director. This is a unique opportunity to lead Maryland's authoritative and innovative health policy and advocacy organization into its next phase of development in what has become a more challenging environment. Foremost among the attributes CHF will be looking for in its new leader is a true passion for the goal of ensuring that all Marylanders have equitable access to high-quality and affordable health care.

For more information, and to submit an application, please visit our website.
Upcoming Events
  • TODAY - July 11th - National Call In DayJoin frontline healthcare workers -physicians, nurses, nursing home and home health workers - in a National Call-In Day to tell Congress to vote NO on the healthcare bill and stand up for Medicaid. Call 866-426-2631 and tell Congress to #VoteNo and #SaveMedicaid.
  • Thursday, July 13th - A Mile in Our Shoes - Sponsored by the Kent and Queen Anne's County chapter of Indivisible. A public installation artwork highlighting the human cost of the American Health Care Act. The event will be held Thursday, July 13, at 7:00 PM in Fountain Park in Chestertown.
  • Tuesday, July 18th - Joint Committee on Behavioral Health and Opioid Use Disorders  - 10:00 AM - 12:00 noon. Topics: Alternative methods for treating opioid addiction; real-time surveillance of the opioid addiction crisis; and Medicaid parity. 3 East Miller Senate Office Building, Finance Committee Hearing Room, 11 Bladen Street, Annapolis, MD, 21411.
  • Thursday, July 27th - Maryland Medicaid Advisory Committee - 1:00 PM - 3:00 PM, Maryland Department of Health, 201 W. Preston Street, Lobby Conference Room L-3, Baltimore, MD 21201. 
  • Saturday, July 29th - Our Lives On the Line - Slated for the first day of the Congressional summer break, it is a national day of protest for protecting healthcare in America. More than a dozen organizations are combining forces, including organizers from the successful Women's March in January, and the March for Science on April 22. Sign up for a march near you.
For the latest information visit our  Website   
 
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