The change of administration in Washington brought with it renewed threats to the protections embodied in the Affordable Care Act and the fundamental principles of the 50-year state federal compact represented by Medicaid. The attacks included proposals to cut federal Medicaid funding, convert the program to block grants, introduction of the “American Healthcare Act” as well as a forthright campaign to “repeal and replace” the ACA, and numerous less-flashy regulatory adjustments designed to undermine both programs. In response to these attacks on health security and the heightened confusion they created, we launched a campaign of education and re-information.
Our ACA one-pagers were designed to show in clear and simple ways how ACA protections affect everyday people’s lives. For example, one showed that a single mom’s ACA premium subsidy would buy a month’s rent AND a month’s food for her and her baby. To counteract congressional proposals arguing that states deserve more flexibility in their Medicaid programs, we developed a set of Medicaid flexibility one-pagers, which explained waivers and state plan amendments in everyday language, with examples of what states have been actually accomplishing with them. They included a citizen advocacy sheet that took a would-be Medicaid advocate “from zero to 60” in the space of one page.
As Congress weighed the merits of the “American Health Care Act,” we assembled a congressional advocacy campaign for Illinois that paired district-specific information from public sources about the impacts of ACA repeal with actual quotes illustrating what that member of Congress had said about the ACA – and provided multiple ways to reach them, to thank or remonstrate.