Category Archives: Policy Update

Interreligious Coalition Opposes H.R. 1

Interreligious Coalition Opposes House Republican Tax Bill

Laura Peralta-Schulte
November 16, 2017

Yesterday, the Interreligious Working Group on Domestic Human Needs, a coalition of faith-based organizations, sent a letter to the House of Representatives urging members to vote no on H.R. 1, the House Republican tax bill.

This immoral tax bill prioritize the wealthy at the expense of struggling communities and vulnerable families. It violates our call to care for the most marginalized and to work for the common good. We call on Congress to pass a just tax bill that asks everyone to pay their fair share to invest in our nation.

Read the text of the letter below, or download as a PDF.


November 14, 2017

Dear Speaker Ryan and Leader Pelosi:

As members of the faith community, we know that tax decisions are moral decisions. Taxation choices show who we preference as a nation and who pays the price.  These choices show who and what we care about as a nation. All of our faiths teach us that the center of our concern should be those at the economic margins of our society. Therefore, we, the interfaith community, are speaking with one voice.

We must oppose H.R. 1, the Tax Cut and Jobs Act, because the bill violates our faith values as well as the fundamental issues of tax fairness and fiscal discipline.

First, the Tax Cut and Jobs Act is fiscally irresponsible. It grows the deficit by $1.5 trillion dollars over ten years. Growing deficits and debt threatens not only the fiscal health of our country, but it also threatens future funding for the programs that help countless families put food on the table and provide for their children. This additional $1.5 trillion in lost revenues will lead directly to future cuts in critical anti-poverty programs and low-income services including Medicaid, SNAP, low-income housing assistance, and other critical services for families struggling to make ends meet. The tax system should be structured to support investments in programs that create economic opportunity and dignity for all, especially families struggling to make ends meet. This bill violates the moral responsibility to care for the vulnerable.

The Tax Cut and Jobs Act makes the tax code more regressive. The tax breaks included in the legislation are not targeted to low- and moderate-income individuals. Provisions such as repeal of the estate tax, lower rates for pass-through income, and lower tax rates for income between $480,000 and $1 million will give enormous benefit to those at the top. This proposal is the exact opposite of a moral mandate to focus on those who struggle the most.

At the same time low-income families are left out of the benefits of H.R. 1. The bill increases the Child Tax Credit, but without making the additional credit refundable or making any improvements for low-income households, 10 million children are completely left out of any benefit increase. We have grave concerns about the cuts to the Child Tax Credit and the American Opportunity Tax Credit for immigrant families. We also strongly oppose the way in which H.R. 1 inhibits low-income working families from accessing the EITC, arguably the most effective anti-poverty, pro-mobility program in the country. Yet again this bill fails a basic moral test.

Rather than cutting these key anti-poverty investments for working families, a morally faithful way forward would have Congress

  1. Expanding the Earned Income Tax Credit so that no worker is taxed into poverty,
  2. Expanding the Child Tax Credit for low income workers so that those who need the credit most benefit
  3. Expanding the American Opportunity Credit so that students can more easily afford higher education which is critical for success.

These are faithfully moral choices that Congress can make.

We call on Congress to put the needs of working families and struggling communities first in creating a just tax system.  All our faith traditions call us to prioritize struggling families and vulnerable communities in our laws and policies.  We respectfully ask you to ensure that any tax changes taken as part of our tax debate be based on principles of fairness and shared commitment to the common good.

Sincerely,

Alliance of Baptists

American Baptist Home Mission Societies

Bread for the World

Congregation of Our Lady of Charity of the Good Shepherd, US

Dominican Sisters ~ Grand Rapids

Franciscan Action Network

Friends Committee on National Legislation

Interfaith Worker Justice

Islamic Relief USA

Jesuit Conference, Office of Justice and Ecology

Leadership Conference of Women Religious

MAZON: A Jewish Response to Hunger

National Advocacy Center of the Sisters of the Good Shepherd

National Council of Churches

NETWORK Lobby for Catholic Social Justice

The Poligon Education Fund

Faith Action Network – Washington State

Union of Reform Judaism

United Church of Christ, Justice & Witness Ministries

‘The United Methodist Church- General Board of Church and Society

Congress Must Prioritize Affordable Child Care for Families

Congress Must Prioritize Affordable Child Care for Families

Tralonne Shorter
November 9, 2017

On September 14, two leading Congressional champions for children —Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) and Representative Bobby Scott (D-VA)—introduced the Child Care for Working Families Act (S. 1806/H.R. 3773). The bill would make high-quality child care affordable and accessible to lower- and middle-class families under 150 percent of the state median income level by capping costs at 7 percent of a family’s budget. The bill would focus on preparing 3- and 4-year-old children for kindergarten and make new investments in training child care professionals.

NETWORK supports this bill because our faith teaches us that children are a gift and blessing from God. Working families are stretched beyond their means and struggle to meet day-to-day expenses like housing and utility expenses. In 33 states child care costs rival college tuition.  Between 2007 and 2014 the median worker’s wages and compensation declined, respectively, by 4.0 and 1.9 percent. High-quality child care is simply unattainable for most families.  That is unacceptable. The Child Care for Working Families Act would help alleviate this burden on working families and help more children enter Pre-Kindergarten and Kindergarten on track and prepared to meet core competencies in reading and math.

There is growing support for the Child Care for Working Families Act including from: 28 Senators, 98 Representatives, and more than 20 national advocacy organizations.  Despite this strong support, the bill faces an uphill battle for passage since there is no support from Congressional Republicans. Additionally, the GOP-majority under the leadership of President Donald Trump, Speaker Paul Ryan, and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has prioritized passing tax cuts for the super wealthy, raising the deficit by $1.5 trillion on the backs of our children and working families. The GOP tax reform legislation does very little to help working families who are desperately in need  of tax relief such as refundable tax credits for child care and housing.  The Child Care for Working Families is a better alternative to tax proposals that would widen the wealth and income gap, and we encourage Congress to pass S.1806/H.R. 3773. The joy of raising a family should not be overshadowed by the rising costs of child care.

Here are three ways for you to act:

  • Explore NETWORK’s position on Women and Families (Mend the Gaps)
  • Sign the Moms Rising Child Care for Working Families petition
  • Read Senator Patty Murray’s blog on why she introduced the Child Care for Working Families Act

Legislative Update: House Passes Partisan CHIP Bill

House Passes Partisan CHIP Bill

Lucas Allen
November 6, 2017

Last week, on Friday, November 3, the House passed H.R. 3922, the CHAMPIONING HEALTHY KIDS Act, by a vote of 242 – 174. The legislation includes much-needed funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), Community Health Centers, and other healthcare programs. Unfortunately, it also included deep cuts to public health funding, risky changes to Medicaid and Medicare financing, and new barriers for families to access affordable health care coverage in the private marketplace. It is unacceptable to pay for children’s coverage with cuts that will hurt the health of others.

Tara Straw from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities analyzed one harmful aspect of the bill:

“The legislation’s shortened grace periods would hurt low- and moderate-income individuals and families who miss even part of a payment for any reason, such as a costly home or car repair. It would leave well-intentioned consumers with too little time to catch up on premiums when they fall behind and would lock people out of coverage for the rest of the year, raising the number of uninsured.

We shouldn’t take coverage away from other low-income people to pay for essential health priorities like extending CHIP, which provides health coverage for children in low- and moderate-income families, and funding for community health centers, which provide health care for more than 27 million people.”

Read more: Up to 688,000 Would Lose Insurance Under House Bill from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities

Now, it is up to the Senate to pass a bipartisan bill to extend funding for CHIP without the harmful offsets in the House bill. We urge them to pass the Keep Kids’ Insurance Dependable and Secure (KIDS) Act of 2017 in a bipartisan way. For health policy to serve the common good, we must not cut funding from one group to preserve coverage for another.

Healthcare Open Enrollment 2018

Healthcare Open Enrollment 2018

Mary Cunningham
November 2, 2017

At NETWORK we believe that healthcare is a human right. Regardless of financial status or geographic location, everyone should have access to quality, affordable care. It is vital that as people of faith we strive to protect the human dignity of all. One way of doing this is to encourage everyone who doesn’t already have coverage for a healthcare plan to sign up during Open Enrollment. Not sure where to start? Read below to see what Open Enrollment is all about.

Spreading the Word about Open Enrollment

One very important way to spread the word is to use your social media accounts to share facts with your friends and followers. When you tweet, use the hashtag #SoulsToEnroll to show your support for Open Enrollment. Another way to share information is to include an insert in your church’s bulletin with the dates for the Open Enrollment period and information about how to sign up.

For more ideas about how to promote healthcare enrollment, check out NETWORK’s Open Enrollment Toolkit.

Who Can Sign Up

Anyone can get coverage through a state marketplace or healthcare.gov if they are not already covered through a job, Medicare, Medicaid, CHIP or another source. Twelve states (California, Colorado, Connecticut, District of Columbia, Idaho, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New York, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington) have their own exchanges and their own deadlines to sign up for 2018 coverage. The rest of the country will use the federal exchange at healthcare.gov.

When to Sign Up

The Open Enrollment period this year starts November 1 and ends December 15. After this period, you can only enroll for 2018 health insurance if you experience a qualifying life event that makes you eligible for a Special Enrollment Period. Notice that this year the enrollment period is shorter than usual — it no longer ends on January 15. Thus, it is vital to go to healthcare.gov as soon as possible to look at plans and to sign up.

How to Sign Up

Individuals can sign up for a healthcare plan through healthcare.gov or their state-based marketplace’s website. These websites allow you to search different plans and get access to affordable healthcare coverage. By shopping around you can compare plans to see what best fits your needs. Even if you already have a plan, it’s worth checking out and comparing new options. Plans change from year to year, meaning the cost of your current plan may have changed.

While signing up for a healthcare plan may seem intimidating, you don’t have to do it alone! There are several ways to sign up including online, over the phone, in person, through an agent, or using a paper application. If you have questions there is also a 24/7 call center you can call every day (except Thanksgiving) during Open Enrollment for assistance. The number is 1-800-318-2596.

Why Sign Up?

Getting coverage is important! Signing up for a plan will help protect you from unforeseen injuries, illnesses or accidents. Access to healthcare is a right, and obtaining health insurance is an important step for securing access to care in the United States.

Despite the common conception that healthcare plans are costly, plans on healthcare.gov can be affordable. These plans are required to provide free preventative care with no co-pay. In addition, they must cover benefits like prescription drugs and maternity care. It is important now more than ever to sign up for a plan so you can guarantee you and your loved ones are protected. Spread the word!

Interfaith Healthcare Coalition Urges a Vote on Alexander-Murray Bill

Interfaith Healthcare Coalition Urges a Vote on Alexander-Murray Bill

Lucas Allen
October 25, 2017

This week, NETWORK joined the Interfaith Healthcare Coalition in sending a letter to the Senate Majority and Minority leaders endorsing the Bipartisan Health Care Stabilization Act of 2017 negotiated by Senators Alexander and Murray and urging Congress to pass it without delay. The full text of the letter can be read below or downloaded as a PDF:


Dear Majority Leader McConnell, Minority Leader Schumer, Chairman Alexander, and Ranking Member Murray:

We write to you as religious organizations, congregational denominations, and faith traditions about the need to take quick, bipartisan action to stabilize the individual health insurance market. Our scriptures affirm our moral responsibility to ensure all may live with dignity and the opportunity to recognize their full potential. Access to affordable, quality health care should not and cannot be a privilege; it is a requirement rooted in faith to protect the life and dignity of every person.

We are encouraged and supportive of the Bipartisan Health Care Stabilization Act of 2017 negotiated by Senators Alexander and Murray and urge Congress to pass it without delay.
Our faith communities appreciate the value of open dialogue across difference. It is past time for Congress to move away from the partisanship and divisiveness that has plagued this issue and instead move forward in a collaborative and bipartisan manner. The individual market and those who rely on it to purchase coverage are facing instability and rising premiums, and this bill can provide relief. We call on Congress to quickly pass this bill to:

  1. Continue the Cost Sharing Reduction payments for two years to help provide multi-year stability. These payments are crucial for stabilizing the marketplace and they help people with low incomes afford copayments, deductibles, and other health care expenses;
  2. Restore funding for ACA outreach, education, and enrollment; and
  3. Streamline the section 1332 state waiver process to give states meaningful flexibility while maintaining guardrails to protect low income people, those with serious health conditions, and other vulnerable populations.

While this bipartisan package does not address all our concerns regarding access to quality, affordable health care in this nation, it represents a necessary and constructive first step to address the immediate problems within the individual market. We urge you to pass it without delay and are praying for your success.

Sincerely,

American Muslim Health Professionals
Bread for the World
Disciples Center for Public Witness (Disciples of Christ)
Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
Faith that Heals Ministries, Tennessee Conference United Methodist Church
Franciscan Action Network
Friends Committee on National Legislation
Hadassah, The Women’s Zionist Organization of America, Inc.
Islamic Society of North America
Leadership Conference of Women Religious
Methodist Federation for Social Action
National Advocacy Center of the Sisters of the Good Shepherd
National Council of Churches
National Council of Jewish Women, Inc.
NETWORK Lobby for Catholic Social Justice
Pax Christi USA
PC(USA) Office of Public Witness
Sisters of Mercy of the Americas’ Institute Justice Team
Society of St. Vincent de Paul, National Council of the United States
The Episcopal Church
Union for Reform Judaism
Unitarian Universalist Association
Unitarian Universalist Women’s Federation
United Church of Christ, Justice and Witness Ministries
United Methodist Church – General Board of Church and Society

Prioritizing Communities Recovering from Disasters

Prioritizing Communities Recovering from Disasters

Kaitlin Brown

October 24, 2017

In the past few months, natural disasters have ripped away the homes of many of our sisters and brothers in Florida, Texas, Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands, and California. Folks were left with limited time, just minutes in California, to pack up and flee to safety and are now returning to destroyed homes with few options. On conference calls with our housing partners working on the ground, I hear week after week about families in Puerto Rico going without electricity and clean water, and elderly folks in nursing homes in hurricane affected areas going without air conditioning. In Texas, people lined up overnight for D-SNAP (food stamps for those in disaster areas) only to be turned away for lack of identification. In Florida, low-income families and individuals were unable to afford the high cost of resort fees that came in addition to their FEMA hotel vouchers.

While these crises have unfolded, Congress moved quickly to pass the first of two supplemental disaster spending bills, and for this we are grateful. Right after Hurricane Harvey hit Texas in September, Congress passed a $15 billion aid package. This week, the House passed a $36.5 billion bill that is waiting to be voted on in the Senate. While this is a great start, it really is simply putting a Band-Aid on a much bigger problem. Experts expect more money will be needed down the road: Puerto Rico hasn’t been able to have damage assessments done to know how much money is needed, Texas alone has asked for $18 billion for recovery, and with wildfires still raging in California, the extent of the damage is not known.

So with this going on, and millions of people displaced, what has Congress decided to prioritize between now and the end of the year? Cutting taxes for the wealthiest corporations and individuals– a bill that would increase the deficit by $1.5 trillion– while also cutting crucial services for those most vulnerable. The budget plan voted on by Congress would be especially damaging for those affected by recent natural disasters, as it is focused on cutting crucial services for those most vulnerable, including SNAP and housing benefits, such as Section 8 vouchers. The tax bill that will quickly follow the budget, will add to our deficit by cutting taxes for the richest among us and corporations, while failing to supply any additional money to disaster relief and recovery.

As a person of faith, I think this is wrong. The need to care for the most vulnerable among us must take priority, and especially should not be neglected at the expense of tax cuts for the wealthiest. And while Congress has been bickering over the tax “reform” plan, many people in Puerto Rico are still without power and clean water, people in Texas and Florida are without stable, long-term shelter, and people in California are without entire cities. Our elected officials must do better to truly care for the most vulnerable among us.

President Trump and Speaker Ryan Craft Immoral Tax Plan

President Trump and Speaker Ryan Craft Immoral Tax Plan

GOP Tax Framework Would Provide Huge Tax Cuts for the Wealthy, Hurt Working Americans
Laura Peralta-Schulte
October 4, 2017

The Trump Administration and Republican Congressional leadership recently unveiled new principles for the upcoming tax debate titled “Unified Framework for Fixing Our Broken Tax Code.” Supporters of this framework have made big promises about protecting the middle class and promoting growth, but the plan fails to deliver on those promises.

The proposed cuts are simply not designed to benefit middle-income and low-income families. In fact, the plan actually calls for raising the tax rate for low income Americans, the only group to receive a tax increase. Huge benefits flow, instead, to those who are doing the best in our economy and need assistance least – wealthy Americans and multinational corporations. The Republican tax framework would lower tax rates and carve out new loopholes to accompany the significant array of tax shelters that already exist, allowing the wealthy and big corporations to continue using legal means to avoid paying their fair share of taxes. This is wrong for our nation.

Income and wealth inequality is one of the greatest social and moral challenges facing our country, and tax policy is a significant driver of that inequality. Increasingly, Americans are living in two starkly different economic realities – one that is thriving with access to good services and vibrant communities and one where people struggle to get by with little to no investment in their communities. Catholic Social Justice calls us to live in solidarity with each other as one community. Therefore, we have an obligation to ensure that our tax code generates reasonable revenue for responsible programs that support our community.

Catholic Social Justice also requires us to make a preferential option for those experiencing poverty. Prioritizing those with the greatest need must be done so that all are able to meet their basic needs and live in community. We can begin to mend the income and wealth gap by requiring everyone to pay their fair share of taxes. President Trump’s framework, if enacted, will expand the gap between those of living with ample means and those struggling to provide for their families.

Supporters of this tax plan claim that a “trickle down” approach will boost the economy and help American workers, but evidence suggests this is not the case. Today, corporate profits are near record highs and corporate taxes are at record lows. Many corporations pay little to nothing in taxes due to existing tax loopholes. While cutting U.S. corporate rates would make U.S. corporations more profitable, there is no evidence that these cuts would boost employment or wages for American workers. Further, while the effective federal tax rates for the bottom 80 percent of households have fallen dramatically since 1979, inequality persists. The key problem that Congress should focus on addressing for the middle class is near-stagnant pay.

The history of trickle down policies shows that huge tax cuts for the wealthy will increase the federal deficit and force cuts to vital programs that all Americans depend on.  Right now, Congress is considering two bills that provide a roadmap for the risks this tax plan presents.  The House is considering a budget resolution bill which would make huge tax cuts while slashing $4.4 trillion in spending over 10 years to entitlement programs including: Medicaid, Medicare, TANF, SNAP, SSI, college aid, and tax credits for low-income workers. It also cuts $1.3 trillion over 10 years in housing assistance, K-12 education, child care, and other programs. In this bill, 2027 funding for federal programs would drop to 44 percent below their FY 2010 levels, taking inflation into account – the lowest level since before the Great Depression.

The second bill, a budget resolution in the Senate, would allow for a loss of 1.5 trillion dollars in revenue loss over 10 years.  While this bill does not explicitly call for the same cuts outlined by the House, increasing the deficit now will enable Congress to call for entitlement cuts in the near future. We must act now to stop Congress from passing damaging budget resolutions and unjust tax legislation.

Time for Congress to Pass Legislation for Dreamers

Time for Congress to Pass Legislation for Dreamers

Mehreen Karim
September 18, 2017

In the wake of President Trump’s decision to rescind DACA, we must urge our members of Congress to pass legislation that will keep Dreamers safe. There is no time to waste while Congress navigates multiple bills concerning the fate of DACA recipients. After assessing the bills currently on the House and Senate floor, NETWORK has evaluated the varying implications of the Dream Act, the RAC Act, and the Bridge Act. Stay in the know about these legislative pieces:

BRIDGE Act

The BRIDGE Act is a House bill that provides a temporary extension of DACA’s protections. As the most conservative bill on the floor, the BRIDGE Act provides no pathway to citizenship, but legalizes DACA’s original protections for another three years. We at NETWORK support solutions to the danger Dreamers currently face, but we cannot let Congress place a Band-Aid of a bill on our deeply fractured immigration system. Dreamers deserve a permanent and long-term pathway to living a life of dignity in the U.S.

RAC Act

While the RAC Act provides similar pathways to citizenship as the Dream Act (described below), it narrows the pool of recipients by allowing only those who arrived before the age of 16 and have been in the U.S. for five years. They are granted paths to citizenship either through working, going to school, or joining armed services. However, these individuals must stay in conditional status for five years—no exception. In this aspect, the Dream Act proves more efficient in that Dreamers would be eligible for a green card after being in school or work for some time.

Dream Act

Unlike the RAC and BRIDGE Acts, which are solely House bills, both the Senate and House are looking at versions of the Dream Act. NETWORK places its full support behind the bipartisan Dream Act as it provides a long-term path to citizenship and safety for a much greater population of Dreamers. Both the RAC and Dream Act grant Dreamers conditional status, however, the Dream Act grants protection to anyone who’s been in the US since they’ve been 17 or younger and has lived here for four years. Better yet, Dreamers on conditional status can get green cards after they’ve been in college for a certain amount of time or have been employed for at least 75 percent of the time they’ve had a work permit.

SUCCEED Act

The SUCCEED Act is a new bill introduced in the Senate that would disadvantage Dreamers considerably more than previous proposals. The SUCCEED Act is a partisan bill that endangers Dreamers and their families instead of protecting them. In order to be eligible for the SUCCEED Act, participants must meet unfeasible requirements that inconvenience Dreamers in every aspect of their path to citizenship. Under the SUCCEED Act, a Dreamer would have to wait a total of 15 years to become a citizen—at the very least. Additionally, this bill imposes an arbitrary cap on Dreamers that have lived in America for more than 20 years. Even though these are the individuals with the deepest ties to their lives here, they would be subject to deportation. The SUCCEED Act widens the potential for families to be torn apart as it limits the ability of Dreamers to legally sponsor their family members for residency. Under this bill, Dreamers must have waited 10 years in conditional status before they attempt to sponsor family members for permanent residency. The SUCCEED Act and its cosponsors, Senators Thom Tillis (R-NC), James Lankford (R-OK), and Orrin Hatch (R-UT),  have no evidence nor intention of protecting Dreamers. Their partisan bill merely employs harsh provisions meant to cause difficulty and fear for Dreamers and their families.

Competing Healthcare Visions

Competing Healthcare Visions

Lucas Allen
September 15, 2017

On September 13, two visions of healthcare were on display in the U.S. Senate. Senators Bill Cassidy (R-LA), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Dean Heller (R-NV), and Ron Johnson (R-WI) introduced yet another attempt to repeal the Affordable Care Act, which would take health coverage away from tens of millions of Americans by cutting Medicaid and ACA funding. On the same day, Senator Bernie Sanders (D-VT) and 16 Democratic cosponsors introduced “Medicare for all” legislation, which after a four year transition would create a national health insurance system that would cover all people in the U.S.

The Medicare for All Act of 2017 is an aspirational bill that reflects a moral vision of healthcare as a right, not a privilege or a consumer good available to those who can afford it. It would expand Medicare to all ages and broaden the benefits to include comprehensive vision and dental care with zero premiums, copays, and deductibles for all. With Republican majorities in the House and Senate opposing the bill, it has no chance of passage in the near future. As an organizing tool and a messaging bill, however, the bill is a welcome addition that shows one way our nation could guarantee quality, affordable healthcare for all.

The new ACA repeal proposal led by Senators Cassidy and Graham would do quite the opposite. Under the familiar guise of state flexibility, it would replace the ACA’s marketplace subsidies and Medicaid expansion funding with a shrinking block grant. In addition, it includes a per-capita cap on Medicaid that would increasingly cut the program over time. While it has not yet been analyzed by the Congressional Budget Office, it is likely that such deep cuts would cause millions to lose health coverage over time. After months of partisan repeal attempts have failed and given way to bipartisan conversations, this return to a harmful repeal proposal is unfortunate. The Cassidy Graham bill does not appear to have the votes to pass at this time, but it is important to remain vigilant.

With the number of uninsured Americans at an all-time low of 28.1 million, policies that would set us back and cause more to go uninsured are not acceptable. We must mend the gaps in access to healthcare so that everybody has access to the quality, affordable healthcare they need to thrive. As Pope Francis said, “health is not a consumer good, but a universal right, so access to health services cannot be a privilege.”  The Medicare for All Act reflects this moral vision of healthcare as a right, but the latest ACA repeal bill does not.

Trump Administration Announces ACA Funding Cuts

Trump Administration Announces ACA Funding Cuts

Lucas Allen
September 1, 2017

On August 31, the Trump administration announced that they will slash funding for enrollment assistance, outreach, and education for the Affordable Care Act by 90%. This sabotage of the ACA marketplace will result in fewer people signing up for coverage under the ACA and higher premiums for those who do.

The Washington Post reports:

“The Trump administration is gutting federal funds that help Americans sign up for health coverage under the Affordable Care Act, cutting grants to grass-roots groups that assist with enrollment by 40 percent and slashing an advertising budget from $100 million to $10 million.

The announcement late Thursday afternoon, just nine weeks before the start of the fifth annual enrollment season, is the first indication of how an administration determined to overturn the health-care law will oversee the window for new and returning consumers buying coverage for 2018.”

Read more: Trump officials slash advertising, grants to help Americans get Affordable Care Act insurance

Once again, the Administration is putting politics above people rather than legislating for the common good. This decision will cause more people to struggle to access affordable healthcare and fails to mend the gaps in access to healthcare in our country.