Next week, the Senate will reconvene in Washington to continue debate on the Better Care Reconciliation Act (BCRA), legislation that would repeal and replace significant parts of the Affordable Care Act. In just 142 pages, they’re seeking to rewrite how millions of Americans get – or don’t get – health insurance coverage. By 2026, an estimated 22 million people would lose coverage if the bill passes.
Many of America’s hospitals and health systems have joined the fight to protect our patients and our communities by making sure our voices are heard in Washington and in the states. We’ve heard some of your stories about putting advocacy into action, and I thought we’d share a few.
David Ramsey, president and CEO of Charleston Area Medical Center in Charleston, West Virginia, wrote to each of his employees to actively engage them to help make a difference. West Virginians are represented by Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, a Republican who has expressed concerns about the bill. Because 50 of 52 Senate Republicans needs to vote yes for BCRA to pass, Senator Capito could be a deciding vote to save Medicaid from massive cuts and protect coverage for our most vulnerable citizens. Hundreds of people contacted Senator Capito, thanks to David’s efforts to energize his team.
At the same time, Mark Merrill, president and CEO of Valley Health, with hospitals in Virginia and West Virginia, also sent urgent requests to his employees asking them to contact their senators with one message: “protect coverage.” Mark specifically asked folks who live or work in West Virginia to contact Senator Capito – and again, many hospital employees responded. “Your voice is vital in ensuring a positive outcome for our patients and the communities we serve,” Mark wrote. “Please help us urge Congress to get this right.”
I couldn’t agree more – and I am grateful to David, Mark, and the thousands of women and men who work in America’s hospitals, including the Charleston Area Medical Center and Valley Health, for standing up and speaking out. Because the Senate could vote on BCRA within the next few weeks. Please join in this effort and urge your senators to oppose this or any similar legislation. When you reinforce the message from back home that is being sent day-in and day-out by the AHA – along with our allied hospital associations and other coalition partners – we can be a very effective voice on behalf of our patients and the communities we serve.