The California Nurses Association Rally in Hollywood to save the Affordable Care Act
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Hollywood Boulevard is a busy street here in Los Angeles. The courtyard in front of Grauman's Chinese Theatre is perpetually crowded with tourists, film affectionados, and a panoply of folks dressed up like characters from various hit flicks screened at this esteemed venue. The joyful, frivolous vibe suits the visitors filtering through, nonstop. On January 15th, the mood changed. In fierce opposition to Republican lawmakers' attempt to repeal the Affordable Care Act (or ACA), California nurses and other concerned citizens took to the streets in protest.
The march, attended by 500-700 people, was organized by National Nurses United, in affiliation with the California Nurses Association. The CNA is an 86,000 member AFL-CIO affiliated union, while the National Nurses United is the LARGEST Nursing organization in the United States. The National Call for Action was initially proposed by Senator Bernie Sanders of "Our Revolution”, in conjunction with Senators Charles Schumer and Nanci Pelosi.
The National Nurses United call to action and their home site:
Bernie Sanders "Our First stand"
The spirited protest was held in reaction to H.R. 3762, a bill whose ironic name, "Restoring Americans’ Healthcare Freedom Reconciliation Act”, should live in infamy.
The Republicans are currently attempting to repeal The Affordable Care Act through the budget reconciliation process. This annual event allows the majority party to skip the Senate filibuster and land a bill on the president's desk without a vote from the minority party.
H.R. 3762 aims to gut the aspects of the ACA which keep it solvent and supported. However, these changes only affect the fiduciary aspects of the ACA. Other, cherished tenets of Obamacare, such as the "pre-existing conditions” clause, or the ability to keep one’s grown children on a policy until age 26, are not on the chopping block.
Key aspects of H.R. 3762:
Restricts Federal Government from operating health care exchanges
Phases out funding for subsidies which help lower and middle-income individuals afford insurance through health care exchanges
Eliminates tax penalties for people who do not purchase health insurance, and employers with 50 or more employees who do not provide insurance plans
Eliminates taxes on medical devices, and the “Cadillac tax” on costly health care plans
Phases out expansion of Medicaid over a two-year period
There are also provisions for defunding Planned Parenthood.
The vote was held from 6pm-1:30am during a sneaky “Vote-a-Rama” session last Wednesday, Jan. 11th, in Congress.
Here is a link to the bill itself:
The Congressional Budget Office has issued a chilling assessment of how many Americans would lose their health care if this repeal goes forward. The number of uninsured Americans would increase by 32 million in 10 years.
A fine rag called “The Gothamist" has published a great report on the crisis:
The Hollywood protest was one of many held throughout the United States Sunday, Jan. 15th. California Senator Kamela Harris spoke at an earlier Jan. 11th event, held at Los Angeles County-USC Medical Center. The Los Angeles Daily News did a fine story on the morning rally, which seemed geared more towards local politicians than the evening march, which drew both health care professionals and those who would lose their insurance plans if the Republican bill goes forward. No prominent politicians attended the evening event.
52 or more protests played out in towns from Los Angeles to Buffalo to New Orleans to Boston. Nurses spoke their minds from Santa Fe to New Jersey to Seattle to Honolulu. At the evening rally, the Registered Nurses who expressed their rage on Hollywood Boulevard marched from 5pm until people ran out of steam, around 9pm. Given the tough physical demands of this profession, this is a salute to all those who got up and out, to vent their anger and exert some pressure on the president-elect and his cohorts. The police presence was hands-off, since this was a very middle-class action. Tourists and crowds cheered as professionals and alarmed citizens marched up one side of the Boulevard and down the other with commercially-printed signs ( a sure sign of a union-led protest ) and some homemade ones, that broke your heart, or made you cringe.
In the context of cringing….here is a good evaluation of what may occur when Orthopedic surgeon, Tom Price, Trump’s nominee for Department of Health and Human Services, takes the helm. Eric Pianin of the Fiscal times has outlined Price’s replacement plan. It seems typical of the " Replacement Plans" out there amongst Republicans at the moment.
8 Big Changes Under Tom Price's Obamacare Replacement Plan:
The general consensus is that the elderly, the poor, and those with pre-conditions are going to be left behind. Businesses with less than 50 employees will have fewer tax deduction avenues for health care expenditures. As the Congressional Budget Office stated, "A repeal could increase the number of uninsured Americans by 32 million in 10 years." Meanwhile, our Pied Piper of a president-elect tells Congress to repeal and replace quickly, while simultaneously declaring in a "Washington Post “ interview, "We’re going to have insurance for everybody. There was a philosophy in some circles that if you can’t pay for it, you don’t get it,” Mr. Trump stated. "That’s not going to happen with us.”
Here is the Washington Post interview / article:
Perhaps the pressure coming from the largest Nurses Union in America can help to successfully defend the Affordable Care Act —
Perhaps we all need to "get a clipboard and organize," as our outgoing Chief Executive said recently.
Robert Stuart Lowden
Jan15 , 2017
Original: Nurses Storm The Boulevard To Pressure Trump On the ACA