Republicans in Congress have scheduled a vote for today to repeal some of the most important provisions of the Affordable Care Act, a/k/a Obamacare — a move that would deal a devastating blow to reproductive health care.
That’s right: They intend to destroy the very same ACA that finally made essential health services like no-copay birth control, cancer screenings, and well-woman visits available to more than 55 million American women.
Now, not only is access to these services at major risk, so are the patients who come to Planned Parenthood for the health services they often can’t get anywhere else.
(Seriously. In more than 20% of the counties where Planned Parenthood health centers operate, there are no other health care providers serving patients who rely on publicly funded programs.)
An extremely politically motivated provision of the ACA repeal legislation would stop Planned Parenthood, and only Planned Parenthood, from getting reimbursed for providing essential health services to patients served by Medicaid, the government health insurance program for Americans with low incomes.
While Republican leaders intend to destroy the ACA and Planned Parenthood, we intend to stop them, with your help.
Now is the time to make our voices heard.
Tell them they should do the same. We’ve beaten back attacks like this in the past. With your help, we’ll succeed again now. To help with your call, here are the top five things you need to know about just how terrible the Republican plan is.
1) 24 million will lose coverage by 2026
That’s according to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office. The short-term damage could be especially sharp, with 14 million people expected to lose coverage next year.
2) People who already face barriers to accessing care — including people with low incomes and people of color — bear the biggest brunt
One of the ACA’s biggest accomplishments was increasing the number of people served by Medicaid by more than 16 million. The Republican plan would allow states to make it much harder for many adults to enroll in the program. It would also slash federal government Medicaid spending, which will severely restrict the services and the number of people that Medicaid covers.
Plus, certain states won’t have to guarantee Medicaid patients no-pay birth control access or the ability to obtain family planning care from the provider of their choice. Due to the intersection of poverty, race, and gender in our country, women with low incomes — especially low-income women of color — face the largest barriers to health care and disproportionately rely on Medicaid for their health care. They would be the hardest hit by this bill.
3) Birth control, maternity care, and abortion are at serious risk
Birth control pills can cost up to $600 a year out of pocket.
The ACA required insurers to offer the full range of birth control available with no copay. Under the Republican plan, millions of women will be unable to afford their private health insurance, making birth control much less affordable and available — especially to young women and women with low-incomes who are already struggling to make ends meet. Individuals who have Medicaid coverage could also lose access to no-copay birth control because certain states will no longer have to guarantee Medicaid patients coverage of birth control.
Quality maternity and newborn care is required under the ACA too.
Nearly 9 million women gained this coverage through the ACA. Under the repeal, though, plans could provide only bare-bones coverage — and women will suffer the consequences.
Abortion coverage will be severely limited.
Marketplace plans (the ones sold on HealthCare.gov or other state Marketplaces) won’t be able to cover abortions at all, except in cases of rape, incest, or when a woman’s life is in immediate danger, meaning more than 1 million women will lose their coverage for safe, legal abortion. But the problem is even worse because the bill coerces other private insurers to drop coverage for abortion — so, their plans will be far less likely to cover abortion, and millions more women could lose their coverage.
4) All Medicaid patients will be blocked from accessing preventive care at Planned Parenthood health centers
This provision comes directly from the anti-abortion extremist playbook. They claim that their measure is needed to stop federal tax dollars from going to abortion. But an unfair law already keeps federal insurance from covering abortion. In reality, this provision would deny preventive health care to patients who often only have Medicaid and Planned Parenthood to rely on.
5) Health care costs will spike overall
Economists estimate that the average enrollee of any health care plan can expect cost increases of over $3,000 a year by 2020. For people ages 55 to 64, costs would rise by more than $8,000. And for those with incomes below 250% of the poverty level, increases could hit nearly $5,000. These increased costs result from individuals receiving less financial help to purchase insurance coverage.
Women — particularly women of color — will be disproportionately impacted by these higher costs due to inequities they face, including lower earnings.
Take Action Now
Use these facts when you visit your Representative’s office or public events, make a phone call, send a postcard, tweet at them, or tag them on Facebook. Tell your elected officials you support the ACA and Planned Parenthood, too. The coverage you help save may be your own.