How can philanthropy help stop the GOP’s ACA repeal and replacement?

Written by: Peter Haldis

Date: March 14, 2017

Last week, Congressional Republicans unveiled the American Health Care Act, intended to replace a repealed Affordable Care Act (ACA). Several major hospital and doctors’ groups have already announced their opposition to the bill, which has been called “worse than even the cynics expected.”

The bill retains much of the ACA’s structure, but would cut several of the law’s key protections for the most vulnerable Americans, including:

  • Eliminating the ACA’s taxes. The Congressional Joint Committee on Taxation estimates that eliminating these taxes would cost $600 billion over the next decade, with much of those tax cuts going exclusively to the wealthy. (The non-partisan Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget has a breakdown of the individual taxes and the costs of repealing them.)
  • Rolling back the ACA’s Medicaid expansion – adopted by 31 states and Washington, D.C. – including the requirement that Medicaid cover basic mental-health and addiction services. Seventy-four million Americans are enrolled in Medicaid, and half of the 22 million previously uninsured people who became insured under the ACA did so through the Medicaid expansion.
  • Weakening Medicare’s fiscal sustainability. According to AARP, the provisions the American Health Care Act would repeal “could hasten insolvency of Medicare by up to 4 years and diminish Medicare’s ability to pay for services in the future.”

In all, the new bill would reduce the number of Americans with health insurance by 24 million by 2026, according to an analysis released yesterday by the Congressional Budget Office.

“I think this is an important time for movement building. I am a strong believer that we have to build a strong inside game, but it will only work if it is complemented by an even stronger grassroots movement running parallel.”

— Antoinette Kraus, Director, Pennsylvania Health Access Network

So, what opportunities are there for funders looking to stop the repeal and replacement of the ACA? In our recent article “The ACA battle in the headlines only hints at opportunities for concerned foundations and donors,” published in the Winter issue of Responsive Philanthropy, NCRP board member and Community Catalyst President Kate Villers details how philanthropy can get involved in the ACA fight.

Among Kate’s five recommended strategies is fund a range of organizational capacities and strategies:

“State health infrastructure organizations already have health policy and political expertise, but they and community-based partner organizations need capacity to expand community education, constituent leadership development, systematic base-building, and ties with organizations leading other economic and social justice movements. Likewise, social movement organizations unfamiliar with health issues and politics need support to fully engage and collaborate with groups advancing health equity campaigns.”

The idea that philanthropy needs to better connect and help build these movements, which is also a key component of NCRP’s new strategic framework, has resonated with those within the health justice community. Antoinette Kraus, director of the Pennsylvania Health Access Network, was excited to read Kate’s article and told us:

“I think this is an important time for movement building. I am a strong believer that we have to build a strong inside game, but it will only work if it is complemented by an even stronger grassroots movement running parallel. The energy is immense in the field and it’s important for funders to understand what it will take to build that energy while moving strategically for greater change. Glad you are doing this article!”

To see the rest of Kate’s recommendations, read her article in Responsive Philanthropy.

Peter Haldis is senior associate for communications at NCRP. Follow @NCRP on Twitter. 

Image by Michael Havens, modified under Creative Commons license.

The ACA battle in the headlines only hints at opportunities for concerned foundations and donors

By Kate Villers

READ tHE ARTICLE