The Senate's healthcare bill has been in the works for more than a month, though the details have remained secret. On Thursday, Senate Republicans finally released the proposed healthcare law they hope to vote on by June 30, and it's pretty similar to the House's version.
The American Health Care Act (AHCA) that passed through the House in May would cause 23 million people to lose insurance by 2026, according to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office's (CBO) score of the bill. It would also allow insurers in states granted federal waivers to charge people with preexisting conditions more for health coverage and not cover specific essential health benefits (such as hospitalization, prescription drugs, and mental health services) guaranteed coverage under Obamacare.
A working group of Republican senators drafted a new version of healthcare reform they're trying to fast track through Congress without committee oversight or public hearings. The proposed Better Care Reconciliation Act has a few key differences from the House's AHCA: It wouldn't allow some insurers to charge more for preexisting conditions and would result in deeper cuts to Medicaid funding, but through a more gradual process. Like the AHCA, it would still keep federal funds from Planned Parenthood for a year and allow states to opt out of covering essential health benefits.
If you want to have a say in the country's policies, it's incredibly easy to contact your representatives (we even made a guide to help you figure out how to find your legislators and what to say when you call).
If all 48 Democrats vote against the Better Care Reconciliation Act as expected and more than two Republicans do so as well, it will fail. And there are certain Republican senators more likely to vote against a proposed law, as the Republican leaders pushing for the changes will almost certainly vote for their bill.
The Center for American Progress (CAP) put together a list of conservative senators people should contact and tell not to approve a bill that mimics the AHCA, which a CAP senior fellow, Topher Spiro, posted to Twitter. If you live in Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Tennessee, Louisiana, Maine, Nevada, Ohio, South Carolina, or West Virginia, CAP recommends contacting your representatives. Their names and phone numbers are listed below.
Ted Cruz (TX): 202-224-5922
Ron Johnson (WI): 202-224-5323
Rand Paul (KY): 202-224-4343
Tim Scott (SC): 202-224-6121
John Thune (SD): 202-224-2321
Patrick Toomey (PA): 202-224-4254
But even if your senators are not on that list, it's important to contact them anyway if you don't agree with repealing Obamacare. Don't be afraid to pick up the phone and tell your senators to protect health care. After all, they're in Washington to represent you.
This story was originally published on June 12, 2017.