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Years of Attacks on Health Care by the Trump Administration and Allies Have Hurt the Government’s Ability to Respond to the COVID-19 Pandemic and Continue to Disproportionately Affect People of Color and People with Low Incomes

Washington, DC — In the 10 years since its historic passage, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) has provided unprecedented levels of access for people who face systemic barriers to affordable health care. For women in particular, the ACA has made a night-and-day difference in coverage for sexual and reproductive care. Being a woman is no longer a pre-existing condition, and health insurers can no longer deny coverage to the millions of women who have pre-existing conditions. The ACA also eliminated “gender rating,” ensuring women are not charged an estimated $1 billion more than men for the same health care plans. These changes have been life-changing for women, and women of color in particular — many of whom gained access to no-cost preventive services including birth control, access to coverage through Medicaid expansion, and access to critical nondiscrimination protections. 

But while the ACA made significant improvements to people’s health across the country, it has constantly been under siege. The current administration, and its allies in Congress and in state legislatures, have tried time and time again to sabotage or repeal the ACA. This is all an attempt to take away essential health care from people who need it most. These repeated attacks on the ACA and Medicaid are felt acutely now, as the government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic is hamstrung by the administration’s years-long effort to gut our public health infrastructure.

Statement from Alexis McGill Johnson, acting president, Planned Parenthood Action Fund:

“A decade ago the Affordable Care Act made history by moving us closer to a system in which health care is a human right for all, not a privilege for the wealthy and well-connected. For so many it’s meant birth control you can afford, doctors you can visit, and life-saving medical procedures within reach. It’s helped remove barriers to care — for women, people with low incomes, people of color, and LGTBQ people — and has given millions of us a healthier life, peace of mind, and financial security.

“But in the past few years we have watched the Trump administration and its allies heartlessly and systematically work to undermine every one of the advances that Americans have come to depend on. They have made clear that they will not stop until they see our health care system eroded to the point of collapse. And those attacks have never been felt more acutely than today, as we face a global health crisis.

“We can and we must do better. Our leaders must act now to protect the essential care and coverage guaranteed by the Affordable Care Act. We must be bold  and ensure that the next 10 years are just as transformative for sexual and reproductive health, and health care overall. The ACA's enduring legacy should be the first step toward universal, equitable health care access for everyone no matter who you are or where you live or how much money you make — not a reminder of what we could have had if not for the actions of the Trump administration."

Since 2010, more than 20 million people have gained health coverage, pushing the uninsured rate to an all-time low, with some of the most significant gains seen amongst Black women and Latinas. These gains are thanks to the expansion of Medicaid in 37 states including D.C., as well as increased access to private insurance through the health insurance marketplaces, or under a parent’s plan for people under 26. Thanks to the ACA, people can access preventive health benefits, including the full range of FDA-approved contraceptives, maternity care, and breastfeeding support and supplies. More than 62 million people now have access to birth control without a copay. Today, women, people with low incomes, people of color, LGTBQ people, and young people also have access to no-copay preventive services, including birth control, STI screenings, and life-saving services such as breast cancer screenings and Pap tests.

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Planned Parenthood Action Fund is an independent, nonpartisan, not-for-profit membership organization formed as the advocacy and political arm of Planned Parenthood Federation of America. The Action Fund engages in educational, advocacy and electoral activity, including grassroots organizing, legislative advocacy, and voter education.

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