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Newest Repeal Bill Is Yet Another Attack On Black Women’s Health

WASHINGTON, DC (September 19, 2017)This past week Senators Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Bill Cassidy (R-LA) introduced a bill to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

The bill, referred to as the Graham-Cassidy bill, contains much of the same harmful provisions that were included in previous efforts by the House and Senate to repeal the ACA. Notably, this bill would cause 20 -30 million people to lose access to affordable, quality health care by completely eliminating tax credits that assist low- and moderate income individuals in paying their premiums and Medicaid expansion, while gutting the funding to support traditional Medicaid. The plan also drastically underfunds states for healthcare by giving states the power to decide how to provide health coverage to their residents with a specified “block grant” or lump sum, which does not take into consideration changes in enrollment.

“The Senate’s Graham-Cassidy bill is nothing but a last-ditch effort to repeal the ACA and claim a partisan victory before a Senate procedural deadline,” said Linda Goler Blount, president and CEO of the Black Women’s Health Imperative. “The provisions in this bill would be disastrous for Black women’s health because many Black women will lose access to preventative services, reproductive health services, education and counseling, and many other affordable forms of health care treatment that combat health disparities.

The slashes to Medicaid are particularly egregious due to its impact on Black women and their families. Nearly 1 in 3 Black women of reproductive age are enrolled in Medicaid insurance. Without this coverage, Black women will have even more barriers to contraceptives, screening for breast and cervical cancer, and well-woman visits. The elimination of the Essential Health Benefit protections, including maternity coverage, will only make it harder for Black women to prevent unintended pregnancy, have a healthy pregnancy, and raise a family. Given the disparities in maternal mortality for Black women, these cuts are unacceptable. We should be focused on expanding access to care, not limiting it through damaging, partisan approaches to repeal the ACA.”