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You Helped Defeat Trumpcare, Saving Millions of Lives. Thank You.

Working people won big this morning when right-wing politicians failed despite repeated attempts to take health care away from millions.
You Helped Defeat Trumpcare, Saving Millions of Lives. Thank You.
You Helped Defeat Trumpcare, Saving Millions of Lives. Thank You.
Photo credit: Kevin Contee

Working families across the country won big early today – preserving their freedom to secure  affordable health care – when politicians seeking tax cuts for the rich failed in their attempt to take health care away from millions.

U.S. senators voted 51 to 49 to defeat a so-called ‘skinny repeal’ of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) that would have left 16 million people without health insurance and opened the door to more dramatic changes to our health care system, such as gutting Medicaid.

Their bill would’ve raised premiums, weakened protections for people with pre-existing conditions, allowed employers to stop offering health insurance, cut off women’s access to vital health care services, among other things.

Everyday Americans spoke out against this attack on our freedoms and deserve credit for this victory. AFSCME members alone made more than 15,000 phone calls to their elected representatives, urging them to do the right thing by American families.

As AFSCME Pres. Lee Saunders put it in a statement, “This effort failed because thousands and thousands of Americans – including AFSCME members who are on the front lines of our health care system – made themselves heard loud and clear. With phone calls, emails, rallies and more over the last several months, they demanded that their elected officials in Washington represent their views.”

Sen. Mazie Hirono, D-Hawaii, spoke for many worried Americans when she implored her colleagues to show compassion for millions of Americans who are battling illnesses and would be left unprotected if their health care is taken away. Hirono, who has kidney cancer, is fighting for her life.

“When I was diagnosed with kidney cancer and facing my first surgery,” she said Thursday night on the Senate floor, before the vote, “I heard from so many of my colleagues, including so many of my colleagues on the other side of the aisle, who wrote me wonderful notes, sharing with me their own experience with major illness in their families or with their loved ones. You showed me your care, you showed me your compassion. Where is that tonight?”

Photo credit: Kevin Contee

We applaud Hirono, all 45 of her fellow Democratic senators and both independent senators for standing strong in defense of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), which has helped millions of people in the last few years afford health insurance, including many with pre-existing conditions. 

Sens. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, and Susan Collins, R-Maine, courageously opposed the Senate leadership’s reckless efforts to gut the ACA and stood their ground despite being pressured to change their votes.

The surprise, tie-breaking vote came from Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., who was recently diagnosed with brain cancer and came back to Washington to call for bipartisanship. He, too, withstood pressure from his party and did the right thing.

But the fight is not over. AFSCME sisters and brothers must remain vigilant because congressional leaders are likely to look for other opportunities to destroy ACA, and they have already included dramatic cuts to Medicaid in their budget proposal.

“They will continue to raise their voices until Congress abandons any effort to destroy the nation’s health care system,” Saunders vowed. 

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