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If you are watching the news, it has been a busy and tumultuous week for healthcare policy. It’s hard to keep track of who is acting and what is happening. Fight CRC is here to help. Here are a few updates for you:
Senate republicans released their healthcare bill
Last Thursday, Senate republicans released the first draft of their healthcare bill and a vote was scheduled to take place before July 4. On Monday, June 26, Senate republicans released a second draft of the legislation that included a few small changes.
Shortly after the drafts were released, several Republican senators expressed concerns and a few stated they could not support the legislation in its current form. That’s important because if more than two republican Senators refuse to vote in favor of the bill, it cannot pass.
CBO released its analysis of the Senate legislation
Also on Monday, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) released its analysis of the Senate bill and it confirmed that this bill is bad news. According to CBO, if the Senate bill were to become law, 22 million fewer people would have health coverage and Medicaid would be cut by $772 billion.
Following the release of the CBO score, a few more Senators announced their opposition to the bill and said they could not vote on the bill this week. For more information, The Kaiser Family Foundation created a great resource to Compare Proposals to Replace The Affordable Care Act.
The vote was delayed
With a vote tentatively scheduled for Thursday, republican Senators met on Tuesday to discuss the healthcare bill. In that meeting, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced that the Senate would not vote on the legislation this week, and instead they plan to vote after the July 4th recess.
Delayed again (7/17/17)
With the hospitalization and recovery of Senator John McCain Majority, Leader McConnell has again delayed the vote. There is still time to raise your voice to oppose this senate bill.
Advocates – you took action and made your voices heard. Take credit for a delay in this vote – your voices were heard! We will keep pushing.
So, what does this all mean?
The White House continues to push the Senate to vote on this bill. With the delay, Senators now have more time to negotiate. But, the bill was dealt some serious blows this week so we must keep fighting! As they continue to negotiate, we can pressure. Lawmakers still need to hear from you now more than ever! Stay engaged and take action.
On the Hill, Fight CRC is working with our partners in the cancer community to express our opposition to the Senate bill.
Here are 4 ways you can join us:
- Call your Senator and tell them this bill does not protect CRC patients and urge them to oppose it. Dial the Capitol switchboard at 202-224-3121 and they will connect you to your Senator.
- Find your Senators and use social media. Tweet your Senator, tag @FightCRC and use the hashtag #KeepUsCovered
- Take 2 minutes and send an email through our action alert!
- See if your Senator is hosting a town hall in your local area that you can attend to voice your concerns.
What Fight CRC is Working On
And one more thing… we wanted to take a minute to tell you what we’re working on this summer. With a challenging and ever-changing environment in Washington, D.C., we felt it was important to take a fresh look at our advocacy strategy.
In the wake of a very challenging year on the Hill, Fight CRC is re-energized and focused on making meaningful strides towards funding research, increasing awareness and ensuring access to treatment and screening. We will roll out some of these initiatives more formally in the fall, but here’s a sneak peek…
1. Refocus and update the Congressional Advisory Committee
Through your hard work and advocacy, we have learned of several members of Congress committed to working with the CRC community. We are following up with those members of the House AND Senate, from both sides of the aisle, as we work to provide balance to the group. Additionally, we are redefining our Congressional Advisory Committee and growing it so it operates more like a Colorectal Cancer Congressional Task Force. We are working with offices to define the role of the participants and identify specific action items they will take on to support our efforts. (*more to come!)
2. A new strategy for the Medicare loophole issue
We need to keep fighting for a fix in Medicare law that’s charging seniors when they get a screening colonoscopy and have a polyp removed. A fix of this bill will provide greater access to screening. We have been pushing for many years, and we know many of you may be frustrated with the lack of progress on the bill – we sure are – so we are working on a new approach. Keep in mind, as you consider who this bill will impact, that 90% of colorectal cancers occur in people older than age 50. The average age of diagnosis for colorectal cancer in the United States is 72 and about 23 million of those ages 50 to 75 who should be screened are not. Reducing barriers to screening amongst Medicare patients is vitally important.
3. Strengthening our partnerships with others in the cancer community
We can’t do this alone! Many of the issues facing the CRC community are challenges that affect all cancers. Our advocacy team members in D.C. actively attend coalition meetings to ensure that colorectal cancer is represented alongside other groups like ACS CAN, NCCS, OVAC and many other coalition partners who are in this fight with us. We attend many events on the Hill, including the Moonshot 1 Year Later event that happened just a few days ago.
This week Fight CRC was thrilled to announced a formal partnership with the Colon Cancer Coalition. We continue working alongside our partners at The Colon Club. We are stronger together and we will continue to build those relationships and identify ways we can all work together.
If you’ve been watching and waiting for the right time to dive into advocacy – now is the time. Between the healthcare bill, research funding and other policies that impact prevention and treatment – we must not stay silent.
Advocacy is a long process that requires patience and persistence, but we’re in it together. We’ve got a lot coming up and we need you.