For now, the Affordable Care Act remains the law of the land. Republicans have led numerous efforts to repeal the ACA since it became law in 2010; in fact, Senate Republicans voted to repeal the ACA three times in July 2017 alone. Fortunately, targeted opposition from advocates across the nation led to the downfall of the Graham-Cassidy bill, the latest attempt to dismantle health care reform. Nevertheless, with open enrollment looming, health advocates must remain vigilant: Conservatives will keep trying to defund, or repeal the ACA.
The Graham-Cassidy bill was the most egregious effort to repeal the ACA thus far. The Congressional Budget Office reported that Graham-Cassidy would have stripped millions of Americans of their health care. Fortunately, advocacy efforts and public outrage led to the failure of this highly unpopular bill. Still, the fact that most Republican legislators are attempting to strip millions of health care should alarm everyone.
I would be remiss if I didn’t note that I have a personal stake in this fight. I benefit from the ACA because it allowed me and millions of young adults to stay on their parents’ plan until the age of 26. This allowed me to save money in college and focus on financing my education. A full repeal of the ACA would strip many youth and young adults of the ability to stay on their parents’ plan. Considering how many of my friends benefit from parental coverage or subsidized care, the prospect of an ACA repeal is sickening.
CLICK TO TWEET: We must continue to defend the #ACA while encouraging people to #GetCovered, says @DenzelTongue.
And that’s why now more than ever, we must continue to #Fight4OurHealth. This upcoming open enrollment period represents a crucial moment in the nationwide effort to defend the ACA. In the past, Greenlining has rallied our partners, families, and friends to #GetCovered, but now, the fate of health care reform depends on whether we can maximize and defend the ACA at the same time. Open enrollment for the federal exchange begins November 1, 2017 and continues until December 15, 2017. Enrollment in California’s state exchange—known as Covered California—runs from November 1, 2017 to January 31, 2018. It is vital that uninsured Californians enroll now given the uncertainty of the Affordable Care Act in the coming year.
Here are a few things you must know about open enrollment:
- Health coverage is vital! If you are uninsured, consider enrolling in a health plan. Local enrollment centers are available to support you should you want in-person assistance while enrolling. Applications are available in a variety of languages, including Spanish, Chinese, Tagalog, and Arabic, among others. Enrollment is easy, so #GetCovered now!
- Remain vigilant! While Republicans state they will now shift to tax reform, we must stay vigilant and be prepared to stop repeal efforts in their tracks. While ACA repeal has moved to the back burner, Conservatives will likely attempt to repeal the Affordable Care Act again in the future. It is vital that you enroll now!
- Be informed! Although the Trump administration is doing its best to sabotage it, the Affordable Care Act is still the law of the land, and you can still apply for coverage! Know that open enrollment for the federal exchange ends on December 15, 2017, and ends on January 31, 2018 for Covered California.
Defending the ACA must remain at the forefront of our resistance. We must continue to #Fight4OurHealth during these trying times. Republicans will continue their efforts to repeal the ACA, so we must remain vigilant and informed. Repeal efforts mean great uncertainty for the ACA’s future. Therefore, if you do not currently have health insurance, #GetCovered. Advocacy has defeated repeal efforts up to this point, but the fight for health equity goes on. Like always, I will continue to engage in the fight to provide high quality, culturally competent health care for all Americans, regardless of their background.
Denzel Tongue is Greenlining’s Health Equity Fellow. Follow Denzel on Twitter.