Action Alert: Take a Stand for Health Care with Governor Cuomo!

ProtestThe coverage gains and consumer protections achieved under the ACA and the Medicaid program that covers the most vulnerable New Yorkers are all at risk. The Senate could be voting on their Better Health Care Reconciliation Act that would take coverage away from more than 22 million people and end the Medicaid program as we know it as early as next week.

Join HCFANY MONDAY, July 17 at 1:15 PM for the “Take a Stand for Health Care” rally with Governor Andrew Cuomo at Mount Sinai’s Icahn School of Medicine in New York City to defend the ACA and Medicaid. Please register here.

Stern Auditorium

Icahn School of Medicine

Mt. Sinai Hospital

1468 Madison Avenue

New York, NY 10029

IMG_0044A few weeks ago, more than 70 members of HCFANY, Health Care for America Now-New York (HCAN), and Medicaid Matters New York (MMNY) from across the state gathered in Albany for the first joint New York State Health Advocates Spring Meeting. More than 50 consumers and advocates attended the press conference in front of the State Capitol about the then secret Senate Better Care Reconciliation Act bill. Several State Legislators also attended including: Assembly Member Richard Gottfried and Assembly Member Patricia Fahy. We were honored to have Margarida Jorge, Co-Executive Director of HCAN and the HCAN Education Fund, as a speaker at the press conference and as our keynote speaker. You can view WNYT coverage of the press conference here.

We heard updates from HCFANY, HCAN-New York, MMNY, Coverage 4 All (immigrant health), disability rights groups, and women’s health and LGBTQIA groups to learn more about what they are doing to fight for New York’s health care and how consumers can get involved. You can view slides from the presentation here. The meeting concluded with break out groups to plan ACA and Medicaid defense actions in different regions throughout New York State.

JoblossAccording to an updated analysis from the Commonwealth Fund and the Milken Institute School of Public Health at the George Washington University, New York would lose 131,700 jobs by 2026 if the Better Care Reconciliation Act (BCRA) passed by the Senate last month became law. This represents 45,000 more jobs lost in New York State than under the House’s American Health Care Act. Based on this estimate, New York would once again lose more jobs than any other state in the country.

According to the study, approximately 62 percent of jobs lost would be in the health care sector, but BCRA would affect other industries as well. The study also shows that $17.1 billion in Gross State Product and more than $27 billion in business output would be lost by 2026. You can access the full New York State data here.

The Senate is still working on the final version of BCRA, but the bill will ultimately return to the House of Representatives for another vote. It is very important that your Representatives in Congress hear from you. This Monday, July 10 please join HCFANY for a National Call-In Day at (844) 898-1199 and tell Congress to vote “No” on BCRA and any efforts to take away our health care.

sad childMedicaid is the single largest insurer for children in the United States. The program covers more than 35.5 million children nation-wide and more than 2 million children in New York State alone. On May 4, the House of Representatives voted to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and cut more than $830 billion from the Medicaid program. In addition to these dramatic cuts, Congress has also proposed to lower the federal minimum Medicaid eligibility threshold for children under 19 from 138 percent of the Federal Poverty Level (FPL) (about $28,000 for a family of three) to 100 percent of FPL (about $20,000 for a family of three). A new policy brief from the Institute for Child, Youth, and Family Policy at Brandeis University shows what these cuts to Medicaid and change in eligibility will mean for school-aged children.

According to the policy brief, there are currently 15.2 million children eligible for Medicaid coverage in the U.S. The proposed change in the federal minimum eligibility for the Medicaid program would reduce the number of eligible children by 4.7 million. The brief also explains that eligible children are disproportionately Black and Hispanic or Latino. This is also true in New York State. According to the brief, New York ranks fourth in the nation for the number of Hispanic or Latino children who would lose Medicaid eligibility under this change (90,600) and fifth for the number of Black children who would lose Medicaid eligibility (48,400).

New York State has always been a leader in children’s health coverage. New York currently has an insurance rate for children of more than 97 percent, and all children under the age of 19 are eligible for health insurance regardless of immigration status. New York State also has a Medicaid eligibility level for school-aged children of 149 percent of FPL (about $30,000 for a family of three) through 2019, which is greater than the federal minimum eligibility under the ACA. However, even with these many steps in the right direction, Black and Hispanic or Latino children remain more likely to be uninsured than other New York children. Cuts to Medicaid and reduction of the federal Medicaid eligibility level would be a huge step backward and only serve to exacerbate existing health inequities for New York’s children.