Mere weeks after the House Republicans failed to gather support to repeal the Affordable Care Act, they have now voted on the American Health Care Act to deny healthcare coverage to anywhere from 14 million to 24 million people in a vote 217 to 213. The House GOP voted for a bill they did not like and openly admit they had not read. This is a travesty that will be a detriment to all of our lives. Today is a dark day in our nation’s history.
Healthcare should not be political. Healthcare should not be unaffordable. Healthcare should not be unattainable. Healthcare is a human right.
The AHCA is a cruel and violent piece of legislation aimed at harming the most vulnerable people living and working in this nation, those who are viewed as politically expendable.Now millions of people’s healthcare will be left up to their bosses and state governments. The bill would end Medicaid expansion and devastate healthcare access for millions of people with low-incomes to the tune of $880 billion. Under the MacArthur-Meadows Amendment, states would be able to waive the Essential Benefits requirement which raised the standard of care for insurance plans and ensured contraception coverage, pregnancy-related care, emergency services, newborn and pediatric care, mental health care, and more were covered. Horrifically, the bill would consider survivors of sexual assault to have a pre-existing condition and deny them mental healthcare and other services they need to heal. Pregnancy is once again counted as a pre-existing condition which would increase premiums by 425%. This is just the start.
This vote comes hours after President Trump signed an executive order giving religious institutions, including healthcare facilities, the freedom to discriminate against LGBT communities, people who’ve had abortions and use contraception, and other marginalized communities, while laxing our nation’s important separation of religious speech and political endorsements.
As we watch politicians diminish our health care rights little by little, it’s shameful that they themselves aren’t affected by laws that damage Medicaid and Medicare—those who can afford their own health care plans or who have jobs that provide insurance benefits. Our families deserve a health care plan based on our collective values, not one that was created over a beer keg in college. You can find out how your representative voted here.
Abortion funds have been doing the work of covering the cost of abortion ever since the Hyde Amendment was passed, and some even longer. Funding abortion is intensive work, historically done by volunteers. Our network has only been able to support a third of the people who call for help even in friendlier administrations. We don’t need more extreme restrictions on abortion care, financial or otherwise. More than half of people who call the abortion funds for financial assistance for abortion, transportation to appointments, childcare and hotel stays are from the South. Nearly half are African-American, and the majority are already parents.
From abortion to contraception to prenatal care, we’re terrified about what it means for our families, but we will never stop fighting. We are here to resist so we all have the power and resources to care for and affirm our bodies, identities, and health for ourselves and our families. If you haven’t cared about abortion rights before, this ACA fight shows that abortion access is part of entire healthcare system that we stand to lose as we know it. As this fight goes to the senate, it faces some obstacles, especially that of public opinion. Find your Senator and make your voice loud. Oppose the AHCA.
Everyone loves someone who had an abortion, and as a nation, we must ensure our loved ones have access to the care they deserve. Anything less is an inexcusable abuse of power from those who will never feel the effects of being without insurance coverage.