UDW Statement on Senate Failing to pass “Skinny Repeal” of the Affordable Care Act
California caregivers remain vigilant and will continue efforts to protect Medicaid for seniors and people with disabilities
Over the last several months, UDW caregivers have campaigned against health care repeal attempts that would result in millions of Americans losing coverage and make deep cuts to Medicaid. We are relieved that the Senate’s attempt to repeal the Affordable Care Act has failed, and we thank Senators Dianne Feinstein and Kamala Harris for doing the right thing for Californians.
“UDW is committed to the simple idea that we are stronger when we take care of each other,” said UDW Executive Director Doug Moore. “And though we may breathe a sigh of relief today, we know another round of attacks will surely come. We pledge to remain vigilant in our defense of these vital programs.”
UDW caregivers will continue to contact the 14 California lawmakers in the House of Representatives who voted in favor of the repeal and cutting care for their constituents, including cutting hundreds of millions of dollars to the state’s In-Home Supportive Services program (IHSS).
“Our lawmakers need to drop efforts to repeal our care once and for all. Instead they should focus on making sure people have the health care and long-term care they need,” said Moore. “Health care is a right for everyone, at every point in our lives.”
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, May 4, 2017
Today, after months of unsuccessful attempts, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill that would repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (also known as Obamacare).
Fourteen California Congressional Representatives voted in favor of the repeal, which cuts $400 million from California’s IHSS program by 2020. It also guts the federal Medicaid program, which funds over 50% of IHSS, and eliminates vital protections for people with pre-existing conditions – including the Californians with disabilities and seniors that UDW’s nearly 100,000 home providers serve.
“This bill is a devastating attack on seniors and people with disabilities,” said UDW Executive Director Doug Moore in a statement on Thursday morning.
California will lose billions of dollars of federal funding for Medi-Cal. This will force our state to significantly reduce benefits and services. The impact on the IHSS program, which provides life-saving care to over half a million low-income seniors and people with disabilities, will be staggering. Loss of federal funding will mean less hours of care for our neighbors and loved ones. Care for some will be eliminated completely.
“It is not an exaggeration to say that Trumpcare will put lives at risk,” Moore continued. “And it is unconscionable that our elected leaders in Congress voted to support what amounts to a death sentence for many low-income sick and aging Americans. Our union will not stand for this, and these legislators will be held accountable for their actions.”
We call on the US Senate to stop this bill in its tracks.
United Domestic Workers of America (UDW)/AFSCME Local 3930 is a home care union made up of nearly 100,000 in-home caregivers across the state of California. UDW caregivers provide care through the state’s In-Home Supportive Services program (IHSS), which allows over half a million California seniors and people with disabilities to stay safe and healthy at home
Federal changes could mean cuts to home care and our benefits
After months of fighting to protect IHSS from cuts, UDW caregivers celebrated in March when the Republican led Congress was unable to pass a health care repeal bill that would have made drastic cuts to the federal Medicaid program and IHSS.
To stop this effort, UDW caregivers made over 3,000 calls to Congress and attended town hall meetings across
the state. The failure of the health care repeal bill was a major victory, but we know Congress will try again — putting IHSS in serious danger. In addition, the Trump Administration could make changes to a federal rule that allows IHSS providers to earn overtime pay.
All of these threats are why it is important that IHSS providers continue to stand together as a union. We won’t give up on our loved ones and clients without a fight!
For more information about the challenges facing IHSS, go to our website: www.udwa.org.
Right now members of Congress are trying to repeal the health care bill, putting IHSS in serious danger.
Click here to read more about how capping Medicaid will impact IHSS providers and recipients.
Frequently Asked Questions about ACA and Medicaid
We’ve all heard a lot of talk about repealing the Affordable Care Act lately. But did you know Medicaid is also on the chopping block? Congressional Republicans have long talked about changing Medicaid, and any changes to Medicaid will impact IHSS providers and home care recipients.
Here are some common questions and answers to help make sense of what’s going with our health care and home care.
What is Medicaid?
Medicaid, which is called Medi-Cal in California, is an entitlement program that provides health coverage for millions of low-income Americans – including children, seniors, pregnant women, and people with disabilities.
What is an entitlement program?
An entitlement program is a government program that guarantees benefits to individuals who meet the program’s eligibility requirements. In the case of Medicaid, this also means the state is guaranteed federal funding to pay for the cost of Medicaid programs like health insurance and IHSS.
What does the Affordable Care Act have to do with Medicaid?
The Affordable Care Act (also known as the ACA or Obamacare) went into effect in 2014. The ACA expanded Medicaid eligibility to cover many Californians who did not qualify before – including 47,000 UDW caregivers.
In addition, half the funding the state uses to pay for the IHSS program comes from Medicaid.
How does Medicaid funding work?
Right now, the federal government provides at least $1 for every $1 each state spends on Medicaid. To ensure those in need always have access to health care programs, Medicaid funding increases as need for Medicaid programs increase. In fact, during the most recent recession, more than 10 million additional people were able to enroll in Medicaid.
How have Republicans proposed to change Medicaid?
Republicans want to limit the amount the federal government spends on Medicaid. They plan to do this by putting a cap on the amount of money states receive to pay for the program.
One proposal would be to use block grants to limit states to a preset amount of funding for Medicaid.
Another proposal known as per capita caps would give states a set amount of funding per individual or per group of Medicaid covered individuals, such as children, seniors, and people with disabilities.
What’s wrong with these proposals?
Right now, federal funding for Medicaid increases as the need for Medicaid programs like health care and in-home care increases. However, if the amount of money states receive is capped by block grants or per capita caps, states would not receive additional funding even if they need it.
Individuals and families would either have to go without insurance, or states would have to cut funding to programs like IHSS to afford the additional health care cost. Either way, many Californians could suffer.
How would my family and my IHSS client be impacted if the Republican proposals are passed?
If California receives less federal funds for Medicaid, the state will have to make choices that will hurt the families and clients of IHSS providers.
To reduce the amount of money the state spends on Medicaid, the state would make the eligibility requirements for Medi-Cal and IHSS stricter, which means many people in need of services like seniors and people with disabilities who need IHSS, would no longer have access to them.
Other essential public services UDW caregivers and California communities rely on, such as education and law enforcement, could also be cut to pay the additional cost for Medicaid programs.
Justice in Aging – Issue Brief: Medicaid Funding Caps Would Harm Older Americans
“I was so proud to be an American,” said Vicky Coursey, an IHSS provider and UDW member from Placer County. Vicky was one of 34 UDW caregivers who tried to attend a town hall meeting with Congressman Tom McClintock that instead became a powerful rally to protect our health care, home care, and more.
“It made me proud to say that this is what democracy is all about,” said Vicky. “If we disagree, we can speak out.”
Despite reports of possible empty seats in the town hall, most of the crowd was not allowed in. Instead, we rallied together outside while the Republican Congressman who represents several counties including Placer and El Dorado, took questions and heat on issues including his stance on the executive order on immigration and health care.
If given the chance, Vicky would have asked Rep. McClintock not to repeal the Affordable Care Act (known as the ACA or Obamacare), but instead to work on making it even better. The health care law has been particularly important in her family’s life. “I have a granddaughter who has special needs who was able to stay on her parent’s insurance longer because of the ACA,” she said. “I was so grateful.”
Changes, cuts, or repeal of the ACA would have a devastating impact on the estimated 75,000 UDW caregivers, as well as 26,900 of Congressman McClintock’s own constituents who have free or lower cost health insurance because of it. Despite this, Rep. McClintock says Obamacare should be replaced even though a replacement plan that improves and expands access to health care has not yet been agreed upon.
UDW caregiver Adam Green said he wanted to ask Congressman McClintock how he would keep a promise he made to take care of veterans and help the new President do the same. Adam, a U.S. veteran himself, provides IHSS care for a fellow vet, and is worried about what could happen if Obamacare goes away. “I’m a disabled veteran,” explained Adam. “The care I don’t get through the VA, I rely on from the civilian side.”
UDW caregivers from Merced and Stanislaus counties travelled over 150 miles to stand side-by-side with fellow caregivers in Placer and El Dorado counties. Lidia Rodriguez from Merced County has diabetes, high blood pressure, and arthritis, and said she is thankful to have access to affordable health insurance because of the ACA. “I need my insurance,” she said, “but even if I wasn’t impacted, I would have still gone to stand with my UDW sisters and brothers, as well as the elderly and disabled – our clients.”
Richard Gold from Placer County was one of the only UDW members who was able to get inside the meeting. He said he got in line for the 10am town hall at 7am because he wanted to hear what the Congressman had to say. “I want this to be a better country and better place for everybody,” said Richard. “I’ve never been to a town hall, but I went because I care. I care about our country. I care about people. IHSS is at stake, and that means my livelihood—and my client’s care—is at stake.”
Town halls with our elected leaders and other opportunities to stand up for and protect our health care are happening in counties throughout the state. Contact your local UDW office to find out how you can get involved.
With a new president in office and a new administration at work, changes are coming that will affect IHSS providers, our clients, our families, and our communities.
This year, UDW caregivers face challenges in Sacramento and Washington D.C. Protecting health care and home care, our children, our paychecks, and keeping people with disabilities safe are all top priorities for our union.
Here’s a closer look at our legislative priorities in 2017:
Protecting—not repealing—our health care
Tens of thousands of IHSS providers get our health insurance through the Affordable Care Act (also called ACA or Obamacare). As Congress works to roll back and dismantle the ACA, UDW stands firm in our commitment that the access, affordability, and quality of our health care should be improved, not cut.
Protecting the IHSS program
Like Obamcare, Medicaid is also on the chopping block. Not only does 60% of Medicaid spending go to seniors and people with disabilities, it also provides an estimated 54% of the funding for the IHSS program. The administration’s plan to change Medicaid from a federal entitlement to a block grant program will have a negative impact on our home care clients because it will mean less federal funding for IHSS. UDW is committed to protecting home care by working to protect Medicaid.
Keeping our clients safe
In the past few years, we’ve sponsored legislation with the goal of keeping people with developmental and intellectual disabilities safer in our communities. This year, we will build upon that work by sponsoring a bill that seeks to improve the state’s emergency response systems by giving first responders – law enforcement, firefighters, and EMTs – information that will help prevent negative interactions with people in their communities with mental impairments and developmental disabilities.
Improving the IHSS payroll system
Last year, we urged the Legislature to address problems with the IHSS payroll system that cause all too frequent paycheck delays. We succeeded in winning a statewide audit of the current system. The results of the audit are expected in March, and UDW will use the audit’s findings to sponsor legislation to finally fix the payroll system, and ensure providers are paid in a timely manner.
Improving California’s child care system
Family child care providers run daycares in their home where they provide care and early education for many of our children while we work. Unfortunately, like IHSS providers, family child care providers often experience paycheck issues and delays. UDW is working with family child care providers to urge the state to make changes that will ensure providers are paid faster and are notified when there are changes in family eligibility.
Want to help? Click here to call your local office to see how you can get involved in these fights and more!
By Bakersfieldnow staff, Bakersfieldnow, January 19th 2017
BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KBAK/KBFX) — State Sen. Ed Hernandez, D-West Covina convened an informational hearing of the Senate Health Committee on Thursday in Bakersfield to show “what is at stake should the Republican Congress follow through with its repeal plans” of the Affordable Care Act, according to his office.
The hearing took place in the board chambers in the County Administrative Center.
Hernandez’s office says repealing the ACA would “strike a devastating blow” to the health care for millions of Californians, and the state would suffer the loss of more than 200,000 jobs.
He, along with Senate President pro Tempore Kevin de León, D-Los Angeles, have written Bakersfield Congressman Kevin McCarthy to urge him to break with his Republican compatriots in the ACA repeal effort.
Woman speaking at “Obamacare” hearing says it saved her life; without it, meds would cost more than she earns pic.twitter.com/rXalOQdyar
— Carol Ferguson (@carol29news) January 19, 2017
Friday night, people will rally in downtown Bakersfield against the ACA repeal.
Speeches and a candlelight vigil will be organized by the Outreach, Enrollment, Retention, and Utilization Committee at 6 p.m. by the Liberty Bell off Truxtun Avenue, according to a news release sent by SEIU Local 521 and Dignity Health – Community Health Initiative of Kern County.
Fight for Our Health Coalition
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 11, 2017
CONTACT: Crystal Young, 619.806.4677, Mike Roth, 916.444.7170, Maria Elena Jauregui, 818.355.5291 (Spanish-language)
El Cajon, CA – San Diego Area residents can expect to endure thousands of dollars in higher costs, job losses, and chaos in our local health care system if Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-Alpine) votes with his Republican colleagues to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA) without a replacement. At a candlelight vigil tonight outside Hunter’s office, San Diegans who are insured through the ACA joined seniors and health care professionals to tell stories of the life-threatening harm inflicted on their families and the community if Republicans succeed in repealing health care.
“Because of the ACA, I became eligible for MediCal, and it has helped me tremendously,” said Esther Torbert, a home care provider in San Diego County. “Before I had health insurance, I would avoid going to the doctor, because I couldn’t afford it.
And when my health got bad, I’d end up in the emergency room.”
Republicans in Congress are already preparing to dismantle the Affordable Care Act through the federal budget process, with crucial votes expected as early as Friday. A new poll shows three-quarters of Americans oppose repealing the law or want to see the GOP’s replacement plan before the ACA is rolled back.
Locally, the repeal would mean:
Statewide, five million Californians stand to lose their healthcare and 334,000 jobs could be lost if the ACA were repealed without a replacement. Experts say the GOP’s plans to repeal the law without a replacement would mean chaos for the entire health care system, not just those insured through the ACA.
“Without the Affordable Care Act, I know I could not afford insurance by myself,” Ms. Torbert continued. “Rep. Hunter, you represent us, and we want the same security you enjoy. We want to know that our families will have the health care we need and deserve. Vote to protect or improve the ACA – don’t take away our health care!”
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The Fight for Our Health Coalition includes Health Access, SEIU California, SEIU Local 521, SEIU-UHW, SEIU Local 2015, UFW Foundation, Dolores Huerta Foundation, UDW/ AFSCME Local 3930, Planned Parenthood Mar Monte, Project Inform, CIR/SEIU, California Alliance for Retired Americans, Community Health Initiative of Kern County, Faith in Action Kern County, California Partnership, Kern, Inyo, and Mono Counties Central Labor Council.
Fight for Our Health Coalition
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 20, 2016
CONTACT: Mike Roth, 916.444.7170; Maria Elena Jauregui, 818.355.5291 (Spanish-language)
Bakersfield, CA – Today, Congressional Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA)’s Central Valley District became Ground Zero in a massive effort to fight back against Trump and GOP proposals that would strip 30 million Americans of health care under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and create chaos in the health care system we all count on.
“As a constituent of Congressman McCarthy, I am here to tell him we can’t go back to being uninsured,” said Carmen Morales-Board, a nurse practitioner who has worked at Kern Medical for 24-1/2 years and is an active member of SEIU’s statewide Nurse Alliance. “It means that my patients will have to go without their prescriptions to give their kids lunch money. Republicans promised to replace Obamacare, but they have no plan – meanwhile our patients’ lives are hanging in the balance.”
Over 100 of Republican Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy’s constituents who stand to lose health coverage under a Trump Administration and GOP Congress rallied outside his office to deliver a “Prescription for a Healthy New Year” that includes strengthening the ACA to protect the five million Californians who have health coverage under the landmark health care law. Last month, McCarthy told reporters he supports repealing the ACA with no replacement plan in place for the millions who would lose coverage, breaking with years of GOP claims to “repeal AND replace” the ACA.
McCarthy’s district includes portions of Tulare and Kern counties, which have the greatest proportion of residents insured by Medi-Cal in the state. McCarthy’s leadership position and the striking number of his own constituents who would lose healthcare under President-elect Trump and GOP Congressional Republicans have made Bakersfield Ground Zero in the fight to protect healthcare for millions of Americans.
Over the last 8 years, California has done more to expand health care access, expanding care to more than five million people in our state. Now, the progress that we have made is at risk under a Trump administration and GOP Congress:
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The Fight for Our Health Coalition includes Health Access, SEIU California, SEIU Local 521, SEIU-UHW, SEIU Local 2015, UFW Foundation, Dolores Huerta Foundation, UDW/ AFSCME Local 3930, UWUA 246, Planned Parenthood Mar Monte, Project Inform, CIR/SEIU, California Alliance for Retired Americans, Community Health Initiative of Kern County, Faith in Action Kern County, California Partnership, Kern, Inyo, and Mono Counties Central Labor Council.
Call 1-866-584-5792, and tell your Congressional Representative to vote to protect the Affordable Care Act and Medicaid
President-elect Trump and Congressional leadership have committed to repealing the Affordable Care Act (known as the ACA or Obamacare) as soon as January 2017. House Speaker Paul Ryan has argued for years in favor of cutting vital programs like Medicaid (known in California as MediCal). And just this month, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said repealing the ACA would be “the first item up in the new year.”
That means the health coverage our families rely on is on the chopping block and under attack. And Medicaid could be next.
This is urgent!
We’ve fought hard to secure health care our families can afford, and as home care providers, our top priority is always the health and safety of our clients. The incoming administration and Congress are looking to unravel decades of our hard work.
MediCal’s eligibility requirements were expanded to give more Californians access to health insurance because of the ACA. In fact, an estimated 47,000 UDW home care workers are now eligible for MediCal. And 28,000 additional UDW members qualify for health care subsidies through Covered California, another ACA program. All in all, repealing the ACA will cut the health care coverage of tens of thousands of UDW caregivers and our families, as well as more than 20 million Americans nationwide.
We cannot let this happen, and we cannot allow disruptions in our IHSS clients’ care.
Medicaid provides 55% of the funding for the IHSS program. That means changes to Medicaid could cause cuts to the number of home care hours our IHSS clients receive, put unfair limits on care, and negatively impact our ability to care for our home care clients.
Our clients and families can’t afford for us to wait and see what happens to these vital programs. We have to take action NOW.
Call 1-866-584-5792, and tell your Congressional Representative to stand up for seniors, people with disabilities and working families by voting to protect the Affordable Care Act and Medicaid.