Action of the day: take proactive steps to mitigate the effect of Trump’s policies on you and your family

Are you feeling concerned about how Trump’s policies will affect you or your family? Check out the useful resources listed at Proactive Steps. The site offers links and advice for people facing a wide range of challenges under the new administration, including people in same-sex marriages, trans people, immigrants, and people seeking reproductive healthcare.

Action of the day: share your story at Faces of the ACA

Have you or your family been helped by the ACA?  If so, consider sharing your story at Faces of the ACA.  This site is collecting vignettes about Americans who have gained insurance through the healthcare program, putting faces to the 18 million citizens who might potentially go uninsured if Republicans repeal it.  As Dawna O. from Marietta, Georgia wrote,

My daughter and her children depend on the ACA. She works for a company who does not provide employer based benefits. She makes too much money for Medicaid but not enough to buy private insurance for her family. If the ACA is repealed they will have to go back to using the ER as their primary doctor. The problem is that you can’t just pop into the ER for minor things. She has to wait until her children or herself are sick enough to be considered an emergency. Do you know how scary that is? when your kids are sick and you just need an antibiotic but you have to wait and let their illness become an emergency before you can seek help? It’s terrifying to live like that.

Article of the day: the most significant benefits of the ACA are under threat

This excellent piece at the New York Times provides a clear overview of the ACA’s seven biggest accomplishments — and the threats posed to each of them by Congressional Republicans.  A great place to start if the debate over individual mandates and high risk pools seems confusing!  Sample explainer:

1) Obamacare insured millions through new insurance markets.

The health law reduced the number of uninsured Americans by an estimated 20 million people from 2010 to 2016. One of the primary ways it did so was by creating online markets where people who didn’t get insurance through work or the government could shop for a health plan from a private insurer. The law offered subsidies for Americans with lower incomes to help pay their premiums and deductibles.

What would happen? The Republican bill is expected to eliminate the subsidies. This would make insurance unaffordable for millions of Americans and sharply reduce the number who buy their own health coverage.

Article of the day: why do Republicans dislike the ACA so much?

The Affordable Care Act certainly wasn’t perfect, but it’s hard to avoid the conclusion that Republicans dislike it primarily because it was implemented by Obama.  (In fact, it was based on Mitt Romney’s pioneering healthcare plan in Massachusetts, and was designed as a the type of market-led program that Republicans are generally quite fond of.)  The LA Times has a useful breakdown of some common Republican talking points on the supposed shortcomings of the ACA — nearly all of which appear to be baseless.

We know that House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wisc.) is desperate to repeal the Affordable Care Act. What he never has been able to explain adequately is why.

Oh, sure, Ryan has offered some rhetorical explanations. He says Obamacare is “collapsing.” That it’s in a “death spiral.” That it’s a “struggle” for Americans. He says a “much, much better system” could be put in its place.

Ryan made all these points, and more, during a town hall meeting Thursday evening aired by CNN. The hour-long session didn’t yield an explanation for Ryan’s haste to take action that could upend insurance coverage for more than 20 million Americans. It did underscore, however, that his description of and position on the law are based on misconceptions, misrepresentations and lies.

Article of the day: although it may not feel like it, the world is getting better

For many people, 2016 felt like a year filled with injustice and loss.  There is undoubtedly a great deal of work still to be done to make our society more just and inclusive.  However, it’s also worth reflecting on the fact that societies around the world have made huge strides in improving average well-being over the last 200 years.  At Our World in Data, Max Roser shares six key charts of long-run global improvements in health, education, and governance.  And these improvements happened because people kept working for them, even when things felt difficult.  Let’s commit to do the same in 2017.