Your Health Care Heads to a Vote Tomorrow. Here's What's at Stake

 

Since its implementation in 2010, Republicans have fought tooth and nail against the Affordable Care Act (ACA), a.k.a. "Obamacare," and are seeking to "repeal and replace" it with their own policy. You might recall that President Trump has made a lot of promises about what a new, Republican plan under his administration would look like, like that time he said there will be "insurance for everybody," that everyone would get to keep their doctors, and that people with pre-existing conditions would retain healthcare

This all sounds like an awesome episode of Oprah where everyone finds an affordable healthcare plan under their seat, but actually, it's nowhere near that easy. And take into account the sexist and lame dad jokes that indicate some GOP representatives have no idea how their proposed healthcare plan—or, uh, insurance in general—is actually going to work, and it's enough to give a gal an ulcer (so, uh, hopefully, that's something that will still be covered by insurance).

 

Here's the problem:

The new proposed bill from the GOP, the American Health Care Act (AHCA)fails to meet the promises Trump outlined on the campaign trail. Additionally, the Congressional Budget Office, an independent, nonpartisan group in Washington that crunches the numbers on proposed bills in Congress, did an evaluation on the AHCA. In evaluating the new plan, the CBO concluded that as many as 24 million Americans would lose coverage under the GOP's proposed plan.

The passage of the bill will plunge the U.S. even further into deficit, and cut crucial benefits for many services.

 

Here's how it may affect you:

Originally scheduled for today, the vote for the bill has been delayed until tomorrow, Friday, March 24th, as the president scrambles to get support.

Previously, Obamacare covered something called "essential heath benefits," which the GOP has long been opposed to. These benefits include emergency services, prescription drugs, and hospitalization (y'know, stuff that's...essential). Also included in these mandated benefits are pregnancy, maternity, and newborn care, which means the already abysmal policies in the U.S. regarding maternity leave could get even worse. 

The passage of the bill would also defund Planned Parenthood, which uses its federal funding (none of which goes toward abortion, btw) to assist with contraception, cancer screenings, STD tests, and other OB-GYN services. As far as abortion services go, it also restricts coverage from any insurer. 

The AHCA would freeze Medicaid expansion, which covers millions of low-income Americans. Since more women are affected by the poverty rate than men, many women who previously benefitted from Medicaid would lose coverage in 2020. The passage of the bill would also threaten the heath of undocumented women, as well as putting the lives of domestic abuse survivors at risk.

And, lastly, if that isn't already enough, there are a number of issues with the AHCA's coverage for elderly adults. And just something to keep on the mental back burners, ladies: Women *do* live longer than men.

 

Here's what you can do:

Click here to find out who your congressional representative is and get their phone number—yes, phone number! You should definitely call rather than email; it's more effective. When congressional email inboxes get filled up, it's much easier to ignore, as opposed to hearing the office phone ringing off the hook ALL. DAMN. DAY.

When you do get on the line with a congressional staffer, be courteous! Tell him or her your message as succinctly as possible. Be sure to say that you're a constituent of the representative you're calling and say explicitly that you think the AHCA should be voted down.

And hopefully, if it is turned down in Congress, maybe it'll give these guys even more time to think...

-Tori Borengasser

 
 
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