WASHINGTON, DC (November 28, 2017). Last week, the House of Representatives passed a tax reform bill that would dramatically change our tax system by providing large, permanent tax cuts for corporations. Now, the Senate will vote on its version of tax reform, which includes a repeal of the ACA’s individual mandate, the requirement that most people enroll in coverage or pay a penalty. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office estimated that 13 million more people would lose health coverage and premiums would increase by at least 10 percent as a result of the health repeal provision in the Senate tax bill. This vote could happen anytime this week.
“The Senate’s tax reform bill is just one part of a larger strategy to once again attempt to repeal current law—the ACA,” said president and CEO Linda Goler Blount of the Black Women’s Health Imperative (BWHI). “Although the ACA made it possible for 15 million Black women and girls to obtain affordable health care insurance and enjoy access to many health care services such as preventative services, Congress is still trying to repeal the law by now sneakily adding a repeal of one of the most important parts of the law—the individual mandate–into the tax bill. In fact, any savings from the bill comes at the price of 13 million more people losing their health insurance. Without the ACA’s individual mandate, some insurers will not offer plans in the marketplace and other insurers will ask for double-digit premium increases. The resulting increases in premiums will make healthcare unaffordable, forcing more people to forgo purchasing insurance and delay necessary care. Black women are disproportionately at risk for chronic health issues, such as heart disease, stroke and diabetes and reproductive health issues related to maternal health, that are all very expensive to treat without insurance. Black women cannot afford to forgo or delay life-saving medical care due to high costs.
Black women’s health has been attacked on every side this year through the multiple attempts by Congress and administration to repeal the ACA such as the Administration’s cuts to funding for outreach and enrollment, executive orders rolling back the ACA’s contraceptive coverage mandate, proposed agency rules that threaten access to a full-range of essential health benefits, and support for small health plans with skimpier benefits. Instead of investing in the health of our country’s most vulnerable populations, this tax bill will give tax breaks to the richest people and corporations. It is possible to reform our tax code without making it harder for Americans to get access to affordable, quality health care, which is what the ACA intended. We, at BWHI, urge the Congress and this Administration to work together in a bipartisan fashion to pass tax and health policies that build on the successes of the ACA and protect Black women and their families.”
About the Black Women’s Health Imperative
The Black Women’s Health Imperative identifies the most pressing health issues that affect the nation’s 21 million Black women and girls and invest in the best of the best strategies, partners and organizations that share our goal: ensuring Black women live longer, healthier, more prosperous lives.
BWHI Communications Manager