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My Issue is… ​health care

Inquiry Question and Problem Statement

What is the question that guided your research about your issue?
Based on your research, clearly state the problem you are going to solve through your political
action project.

What solution to the healthcare crisis in the United States makes the most sense?

Based on my research, the problem is that some people have to worry about going bankrupt
due to the high healthcare costs in the United States. I would like to help solve this problem
learning what the best solution to the healthcare crisis is, who is advocating for that solution,
and get involved with supporting and advocating for it myself.

Summary of Research into Current Status of Issue

Write summary of your research findings. Please make sure to cite all sources correctly.

Guiding Questions for this section:

● What are some major events that have happened related to your issue in the past two years?
● What major legislation or laws have been passed related to your issue in the past two years?
● What is the current state of public opinion about your issue?
● What is some of the historical context for this issue?

Healthcare in the United States has been a major topic of discussion in the past decade
especially, with the passage of the controversial Affordable Care Act in 2010. Before the
Affordable Care Act was passed, many Americans -- almost 80 million -- either had no
medical insurance or were underinsured, meaning that while they had insurance, they spent a
much greater proportion of their income than they should have on their insurance. That was
close to 30% of the population of America. Furthermore, of the people who were uninsured or
underinsured, a disproportionate number of them were people living under the poverty line.
37% of all uninsured adults and 50% of underinsured adults lived under the poverty line. 90%
of all uninsured or underinsured adults fell in the low-to-middle class range. So, the vast
majority of people affected by inadequate healthcare services were middle class or below. In
addition, the price of medical insurance was rising at a higher rate than incomes or salaries
were, so it was pricing more and more people out every year. (​source​)

One of the most recent major attempts to solve this problem came through the Affordable
Care Act, one of the most prominent pieces of legislation of the Obama administration, which
was passed in 2010. The goal of the ACA was to provide universal health coverage. It
accomplished this by requiring all U.S. Citizens and legal residents to have health coverage or
pay a tax penalty. It also required all employers to provide health coverage to their employees
and provided tax credits for small business to support them in doing so. In order to facilitate
this, it created an “online marketplace” for insurance where people could look at different
insurance options. In addition, the bill attempted to expand Medicaid coverage and limited the
ability of insurance companies to reject applicants due to pre-existing conditions. (​source​)

The Affordable Care Act was controversial both at the time of its passing and remains so
today. Republicans felt that it was forced into law due to the use of an obscure Senate rule
and that the legislation itself is unconstitutional. Interestingly enough, the bill itself was largely
based on “Romneycare,” a bill to introduce universal health coverage in Massachusetts that
was created by Mitt Romney, Obama’s future opponent in the 2012 Presidential Race.
Despite the fact that the bill was very similar to a bill created by a Republican, GOP senators
used it as a rallying force for Republicans and have worked hard to undermine it since then.

The Affordable Care Act has successfully increased coverage for groups of people who have
traditionally been uninsured or underinsured. Coverage improved in particular for Latinos and
low-wage workers. However, the ACA did not meet its goal for universal coverage in part
because the Medicaid expansion part of the bill was rejected by 19 states. In addition, the
cost of premiums and deductibles remains prohibitively high for many people. (​source​)

Most recently, the current president of the United States, Donald Trump, made the repeal of
the Affordable Care Act, or “Obamacare” as it has become known, a major campaign priority.
He has stated that he intends to repeal and then replace “Obamacare” with a better plan. The
first attempt at doing so came through the American Health Care Act, created by Republicans
from the House of Representatives. The AHCA was just as controversial as the ACA.
Democrats believed that it would take health coverage away from too many people and give
tax breaks to the rich. On the other hand, conservative Republicans believed that it did not go
far enough in repealing the ACA. The House GOP, led by Speaker of the House Paul Ryan,
made several last minute changes to try to force the bill through, but they eventually chose to
withdraw the bill on March 24, 2017 because they did not have enough votes to pass it. This
means that the ACA remains the “law of the land,” though it is unclear if House Republicans
will continue to try to repeal it. Trump has claimed that the failure of the bill is not a big deal
because he believes that Obamacare will “explode” soon anyway, forcing the need for a new
bill. (​source​)

A recent Gallup poll shows that 55% of Americans approve of Obamacare, a 13-point
improvement from five months ago before the election. (​source​)

Goal of Political Action Plan

Based on your problem statement and research, what do you hope to accomplish through this
political action project? How are you attempting to solve/make progress in solving the problem?

Through my political action plan, I hope to accomplish: learning more about the Affordable
Care Act and its strengths and weaknesses, supporting organizations that are doing good
work on this issue, and using my voice as a constituent to contact my representatives who
can make change on this issue through the political process. I think these actions will lead to
progress on the issue of affordable health care for more Americans.
Political Action Plan
Define the three concrete actions you plan to take to address your issue. For each one,
describe the action you plan to take, your plan to execute on the action, and your rationale for
trying out this action.

Action #1: Learn More About Single Payer

Description of Action: ​Learn more about the difference between Obamacare and

Plan for Execution:

1. Conduct online research on the difference between the two systems
2. Interview a doctor about the difference between the two systems and why he prefers
one over the other.
3. Interview someone else (non-medical) about the difference between the two
systems and why they prefer one over the other.

I don’t think I know quite enough about this yet to really feel confident in advocating for it, so
I am going to do some additional research about the difference between the two systems to
more fully understand and be informed about why single-payer is potentially an
improvement on the current system.

Action #2: Research Advocacy Groups

Description of Action:
Research organizations that are advocating for a single-payer health-care system, join one,
and learn about actions I can take as a member of that organization

Plan for Execution:

1. Use Google to identify at least 3 organizations that advocate for single-payer
health-care system
2. Research the specific actions they are taking to work for single-payer and what the
requirements for membership are
3. Join one of the organizations and try to make a plan to take one of the actions from
their website

There are probably a lot of non-profit organizations working for this and those are often the
best way for individual people to get involved in working toward it. If I can find one, it will
teach me more about the kinds of actions I can take to get involved and then actually carry
out those actions.
Action #3: Contact Local Representatives

Description of Action: ​Write to my local representatives (Diane Feinstein, Kamala Harris,

Jackie Speier) to ask them to advocate for national single-payer health-care reform.

Plan for Execution:

1. Write a letter outlining why I think this is the best outcome using my research from
the first Action.
2. Send the letter to my representatives electronically and by snail mail.

These three women are my representatives in the federal legislative branch, so they would
be the people who are most likely to be able to create legislation around it. I know that
recently at a town hall, Feinstein said she wasn’t sure about single-payer so I hope that if
enough people send her letters about it, then maybe she will start to consider it.

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