Something You Can Still Do To Stop Trumpcare/Wealthcare

Yesterday, the Senate voted to begin debate on a bill* that could very well strip health insurance from 22 million Americans.

I haven’t always known what to do during the unfolding of the debate over Wealthcare (as activist Miriam Kaba aptly calls it). Like most readers of this blog post, I imagine, I have two senators who have rightly voted against this mess the whole way. I made the requisite phone calls to them, but it felt like a pointless gesture.

Well, here’s a gesture that’s not pointless–at least not for the next couple of hours. The good folks at Indivisible have set up a mechanism by which you can call folks in Nevada or West Virginia and beg them to beg their still-malleable Republican Senators to vote no on this thing. They give you a script, and you can make the phone calls right from home, then patch folks through to their Senators. It doesn’t take any special equipment. If you’ve ever done phone banking with LEO, it’s a very similar process.

I just did fifteen minutes. That’s all I could handle, personally, before the physical symptoms of anxiety from talking to strangers became unbearable. But if I can do it for that long, so can you. Take a moment from your summer research and help kill this thing. Go here to get started.

(*Yes, it’s actually not clear what the content is of the bill they’re voting on. Basically they’re trying to pass something so that it can all go back to committee. In that process, though, it appears the hard-line, let’s-kill-Medicaid-while-we’re-at-it wing of the Republican party will have all the negotiating advantage. So we really don’t want the Senate to pass anything here, at all, period, full stop. More in-depth analysis here. 

Protect Our Communities: Decline to Sign the Prevailing Wage Petition

Sisters, Brothers, Friends:

Be aware this summer. All local unions, members, and friends of the labor movement should be vigilant and educate their members about the attack on prevailing wage. Decline to sign the prevailing wage petition.

Signature gatherers are out across Michigan right now. They’re asking voters to sign a petition to repeal the Prevailing Wage Act of 1965. This repeal effort is an attack on Michigan’s workers, our families, and our security.

Repealing prevailing wage laws leads to:

  • Higher injury rates on construction sites

  • A less skilled and experienced workforce

  • Lower wages that push workers out of the middle-class

  • Less workforce training; a more dangerous workplace

  • Reduced healthcare and retirement coverage

Learn more about the importance of prevailing wage laws and find educational videos to show at your meetings here:

Here’s a link to a video about the misleading tactics and outright lies used by signature gatherers during the 2015 attack on prevailing wage: The message holds for 2017.

AHCA Will Hurt Basically Everyone Who’s Not a Billionaire

For protecting University of Michigan lecturers–heck, all teachers anywhere–there is probably no bigger priority, right now, than killing the American Health Care Act of 2017.

The provisions of this disastrous bill–which is so much more than a repeal of the still-controversial Affordable Care Act–have been well covered everywhere. CBO (Congressional Budget Office) projections indicate that it will lead to 24 million uninsured by 2026. It will drastically cut Medicaid too, a scary thought for those of us who have poor elderly, disabled, or young people in our lives, whom we can’t take care of on a lecturer’s salary. (It’s also scary for those of us who can’t anticipate retiring from a tenured position someday.) And don’t go thinking our BlueCare plans make us immune from the impact of this bill. It will affect us via the folks in our lives not blessed with similarly good insurance, and the impact on our students and communities. (It’s hard to watch good students die because they can’t afford insurance that covers their preexisting conditions.) And experts predict the bill will gradually worsen even private plans.

My favorite detail about this bill, buried on page 33 of the CBO’s report: “CBO also estimates that outlays for Social Security benefits would decrease by about $3 billion over the 2017-2026 period.” In other words, CBO expects so many people to die younger as a result of this bill that it will cut Social Security spending by $3 billion.

It’s a uniquely bad bill, and it’s not popular. But Republicans in the Senate are bent on passing it. Michigan’s two Senators are solidly opposed to AHCA, but this is an issue on which your friends and family in other states could stand to hear from you.

This bill will make life worse for just about anybody who works for a living. And it’s even scarier as a bellwether of coming legislation. As the writer and podcaster Matt Christman recently observed, “You don’t push a bill like AHCA unless you’re confident the electorate has been fully pacified.” If Republicans pass this bill, it’s a signal to them that American workers will take anything. We can’t afford to send that signal.

Email everybody you love. Tell them what this bill will do to them, and ask them to call their Senators or, if possible, visit them in person–as these brave disability activists did. (When their cowardly Senator refused to see them, they stayed three days.)