By Alyssa Milano
January 22, 2018
IDEAS
Milano is an actor, activist and a Co-Chair of the Health Care Voter campaign.

Let’s be perfectly clear: Donald Trump and Republicans in Congress are a direct threat to Americans’ access to quality, affordable health care.

Over the past year, the Trump Administration and congressional Republicans have made it clear that they will stop at nothing to rip health care away from those who need it most, with near-constant attacks on Americans’ well-being and financial security. This year alone, Republican sabotage resulted in over 3 million Americans losing their coverage.

But with this year’s critical midterm elections fast approaching, we have a chance to stop these cruel and careless attacks by becoming health care voters.

After the election, so many of us around the country found a voice and a community in resistance. We were angry and frustrated and ready to fight back. People channelled that energy into marches and rallies, millions of calls to Congress and civil disobedience — all to protect our care.

As a Co-Chair for Health Care Voter, I’ve continued to support that grassroots energy by making health care my highest-priority issue this November. Earlier this year, we launched a campaign that aims to have one million constituents in communities from coast to coast pledge to defend the progress we’ve made.

Since Trump’s inauguration, we have witnessed a wave of people working against Republican efforts to undermine and threaten our access to affordable health insurance. People from across the country have spoken out and shared their stories to show the impact of these devastating cuts to health care.

But we cannot and will not stop demanding that the GOP quit playing politics with people’s lives.

Before the Affordable Care Act, millions of Americans with chronic illnesses and pre-existing conditions had to sacrifice far too much to afford the care they and their families needed. With their votes, Republicans have shown that they want to return to the days when families had to choose between refilling a child’s inhaler and putting food on the table, or when people paid for their insulin over their mortgage.

We know that Republicans in Congress are scheming behind closed doors to further sabotage our health care system. They’ve refused to reauthorize the Children’s Health Insurance Program, which provides health coverage to more than nine million children nationwide. They’ve proposed cutting funding to Medicare to give tax cuts to millionaires and wealthy corporations. And they’ve worked to eliminate coverage for veterans, make seniors pay more for insurance and eliminate protections for people with pre-existing conditions.

We know that the Trump Administration has worked since day one to undermine the access to health care and silence those who have spoken out against his reckless policies. He’s slashed the budget for educating the public about enrolling for health insurance under the ACA. He nominated a former pharmaceutical executive who tripled the price of insulin to lead the Department of Health and Human Services. And his administration proposed new rules that would end Medicaid as we know it by allowing states to enforce work requirements.

But we also know that when we show up, speak out and fight back, we win.

Time and again, Americans have resoundingly rejected the Republican approach to health care. With electoral victories in Alabama, Maine, Virginia and Wisconsin, health care voters have shown that they will hold Republicans accountable for voting to strip health coverage from millions and threatening families’ futures.

Health care will be a defining issue in the 2018 elections, and as we move toward the midterms and beyond, we have a responsibility to build upon the momentum we’ve created by voting for candidates who support our access to health coverage and by voting out those who have worked to block it.

Our health care, our financial security and our lives will be under threat until we have representatives who will fight to protect us. But as advocates, as consumers and as health care voters, we have the power to turn our calls, marches, rallies and shouts into results at the polls.

After everything we’ve fought against this year, we have no choice but to turn our anger into action and our voices into votes. Too many lives are at stake to sit this out. It’s time to be a health care voter.

Contact us at editors@time.com.

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