Black Women’s Health Imperative Calls on Senate to Protect Our Access to Health Care
WASHINGTON, DC (May 4, 2017) Today was a blow to Black women’s health. The House of Representatives put the health of Black women and girls, and millions more Americans, at risk by passing a bill to replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The 217 – 213 vote on an amended version of the American Health Care Act (AHCA) came before the Congressional Budget Office’s in-depth, nonpartisan analysis, so we have no idea the real impact the bill will have on the American people.
What we do know is this bill seeks to repeal key provisions of the ACA and could potentially increase the number of uninsured by 24 million, defund Planned Parenthood, eliminate Medicaid expansion, significantly cut traditional Medicaid funding and increase premiums for older Americans. Under the guise of state flexibility, the amendments to AHCA also allow states to opt out of protections for people with pre-existing conditions and mandatory coverage of essential health benefits, such as maternity care, prescription drug coverage and mental health services. An amendment to include $8 billion for people with pre-existing conditions was added to the bill, but unfortunately, this funding doesn’t come to close to the amount of money needed to ensure the men, women and children with pre-existing conditions get the care they require and deserve. This newly passed bill affects not only ACA market-based plans but also Medicaid and other employer-based plans.
“It is unfortunate that Congress put the fulfillment of partisan campaign promises ahead of the health of their constituents,” said Linda Goler Blount, president and CEO of the Black Women’s Health Imperative. “Passing the amended AHCA is not only selfish, but it’s also dangerous. Many members of Congress are sending a clear message that they are not listening to the American people when it comes to their health care needs and they are willing to risk our lives by rushing to pass an ill-thought-out bill.”
“An overwhelming 75 percent of the public wants our federal policymakers to make the ACA work. The essential health benefits are instrumental in helping Black women prevent and manage health conditions that disproportionately impact them, such as high rates of chronic diseases, maternal deaths, unintended pregnancy and HIV/AIDS. Also, covering individuals with pre-existing conditions at the same rate as healthy people allows Black women to remain covered without fear of high medical debt, the leading cause of bankruptcy in this country.”
“The Senate must do what the House refused to do: wait for the CBO score, hold fact-finding hearings, and talk to their constituents about their health care needs in order to weigh the real consequences of dismantling the ACA. And we will hold them accountable as we continue the fight for sensible health policies that provide the maximum protections for Black women.”