The result of today’s procedural action on health care in the Senate may be viewed as a political win for majority leadership in Congress, but it doesn’t repeal the current health law. In the coming days, we will come to better understand what health care bill is being considered by the Senate and will be working to interject the Alliance for Strong Families and Communities strategic action network’s health care reform principles and policy concepts into the conversation. The process will move quickly with many steps anticipated in a short timeframe.

Your voice is critical. The Alliance presumes changes to Medicaid will remain part of the deliberations, as it is a focus for the current administration and congressional majority. In our collective work on this issue, we see a gap in understanding among members of Congress about how the social sector deploys Medicaid to:

  • Keep families together
  • Help children get off to a healthy start
  • Assure lower-income adults can get their basic medical and mental health/substance use disorder needs met
  • Care safely for seniors living with lower incomes and people living with physical and intellectual disabilities

Every day, the nonprofit social service sector sees firsthand the importance of health and well-being in America. As organizations that sit at the intersection of people and public programs, you have an up-close understanding of the challenges they face, insight into their potential, and the intersecting policies and systems that can either accelerate or thwart their progress.

So, we urge you to redouble your organization’s engagement with your Alliance Public Policy and Mobilization team and your colleagues across the Alliance network to ensure that Medicaid remains a program that assures a set of federally-mandated benefits, including preventive care; operates as a genuine federal to state partnership in achieving fully-integrated health care; provides parity of coverage; and addresses social and economic determinants of health.

We agree with the statement that Senator John McCain made today after the vote when he said that the Senate’s recent deliberations, “haven’t been overburdened by greatness lately.” To date, we have yet to see a proposal from either Senate or House leadership that would get our country closer to the Alliance strategic action network’s vision of a healthy and equitable society. Nevertheless, after today’s vote, the process will continue moving forward and the Alliance network and the social sector must lean in to make sure that every family and community, regardless of their income or geography, has access to affordable, preventive, fully-integrated health care.