By Karuna Jaggar, Executive Director
On Monday, the House Republican leadership released healthcare legislation to replace the Affordable Care Act (aka “Obamacare”).
Far from fixing any problems in our healthcare system, this bill would end access to healthcare for millions of people across the country, especially those who are already most vulnerable: poor people, people of color, women, people with chronic health problems, and older people. Initial estimates are that 10 million people would lose healthcare coverage.
As we honor International Women’s Day today, we see the devastating impact this legislation would have on women’s health and know we need to resist now more than ever. Access to affordable healthcare means life or death for women at risk of and living with breast cancer.
This legislation would make it harder for people who need it most to get healthcare by pushing people off of healthcare plans and driving up costs. This bill would:
- End the expansion of Medicaid, which has helped millions of people access healthcare who could otherwise not afford it.
- Eliminate the subsidies and change the tax credits that make coverage affordable for people based on their income and the actual cost of health plans.
- Defund Planned Parenthood, which would eliminate access to high-quality women’s healthcare in neighborhoods around the country.
- Penalize people for any lapse in coverage by charging them 30% more when they want to re-enroll. If someone who doesn’t have coverage becomes ill or develops any type of health condition, they may be priced out of coverage when they need it most.
- Increase premiums for older people, who could be charged five times as much as younger people for the same plan.
There are very real problems in our healthcare system, even after the gains of the Affordable Care Act. 28 million people still do not have health coverage, and healthcare costs are still dangerously high. But this new legislation does nothing to fix these problems, and would make it even harder for people who are most vulnerable to get the healthcare they need.
I can’t say it enough: everyone deserves access to affordable, evidence-based, culturally competent, compassionate healthcare. Healthcare is not a privilege or a luxury, reserved for the wealthy and most powerful. Healthcare is a human right.