Let’s get this straight: the GRAHAM-CASSIDY healthcare bill that Republicans are trying to ram through the Senate is an unmitigated disaster on every level. It deprives tens of millions of people of healthcare coverage, increases costs drastically for millions of others, and devastates Medicaid. AND it’s a political weapon designed to punish the blue states who do the most to provide affordable healthcare to their residents.
Finally, a bill that treats everyone brutally actually still manages to single out women for even worse treatment! This bill does massive harm to women’s health AND women’s rights. Who says Republicans don’t pay attention to women?
GRAHAM-CASSIDY is so bad that there is no way to accurately describe it without sounding alarmist. Fine. YOU SHOULD BE ALARMED! Here are just a few of the reasons why.
An estimated 32 million people will lose their healthcare coverage. That includes those who will be kicked off the Medicaid expansion, and others who will be priced out of the market by the massive increases in premiums and lack of subsidies. Say goodbye to protections for those with pre-existing conditions. BTW—that’s over HALF OF US under age 65. And lifetime limits on benefits end, with devastating effects on premature babies, cancer victims, and others.
Oh, and your health insurance becomes “health insurance” in quotes because it’s no longer required to cover little things like emergency services, hospitalization, or prescription drugs. That pretty much covers most of healthcare! Also no longer required—treatment for drug dependence and mental health coverage. That should do wonders for the opioid epidemic.
And then there are the things that specifically target women. There’s no more mandatory coverage for maternity care, either before birth, or after. Thirteen million women will lose access to maternity care! And there’s going to be plenty more maternity care needed, since there are no longer requirements for birth control coverage. And of course, abortion care is treated even more dismally… if such a thing is possible.
A bill that its sponsors claim gives power and flexibility back to the states totally bans states from offering any insurance coverage for abortion services. Even worse, Medicaid patients are blocked from using any healthcare provider that offers abortion (obviously aimed at Planned Parenthood) for ANY services. That means that many low-income women especially will have no access to things Planned Parenthood offers such as cancer and STD screenings and birth control.
And of course, the ban on providing abortion coverage kicks in right away. First things first, right?
Add to all of that the fact that the bill turns Medicaid into a block grant to the states—which drastically reduced the amount of Medicaid funding available. We’re talking about a program that pays for HALF of all births in the United States! And Graham-Cassidy cynically redistributes that Medicaid money, rewarding red states that rejected the Medicaid expansion under Obamacare, and punishing blue states that embraced it to help their residents!
That’s just a thumbnail sketch of how bad this bill is. There are countless more reasons to oppose it, which is why it IS opposed by virtually every healthcare organization from charitable foundations to the health insurance industry itself.
If Senate Republicans can’t jam this through by the end of September, their window of opportunity closes. If you’ve never called your state Senator, this is the time you really must. Here is the contact information for every Senator. This is as important as anything you can do to help safeguard the health of you and your loved ones.