Earlier this year, all anyone in Washington could talk about was health care and the Republican efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA). As details of the House of Representative’s health care bill—the American Health Care Act (AHCA)—became clear, people all over the country were talking about it and speaking out in strong opposition.
Over the last month, the process has moved over to the Senate, where Senate Leadership has been crafting their repeal bill behind closed doors. Aside from the 13 senators (all of whom are men) working on the bill, no one yet knows the details of the plan. All the other 87 senators—Republican and Democrat alike—have not been consulted. There have been no Committee hearings and no debate. What’s worse—the public has not been offered the opportunity to weigh-in on a bill that will impact every aspect of their health, and possibly their livelihoods.
Why all the secrecy? Likely because Senate Leaders know that the House passed a bill that was bad policy.
Let us be crystal clear: the AHCA is a bill that would leave moms, babies and all of us significantly worse off than we are today, putting our health and economic security at risk. The Congressional Budget office estimates that 23 million people will lose health coverage under the AHCA over the next 10 years, 14 million in just the first year alone. According to the Center on Budget and Policy, 3 million children will lose coverage, in large part due to the deep cuts to Medicaid, the primary source of health insurance for America’s most vulnerable families. It’s worth noting that Medicaid covers half of all births in the United States—about 2 million births a year.
What little we do know about the Senate proposal is that it will be just like the AHCA.
The Senate bill will likely still result in a dramatic increase in the number of people who are uninsured, sky-rocketing premiums and deep and fundamental cuts to Medicaid. Under any version of the bill, moms and babies across the country will be charged more for less coverage, putting life-saving services out of reach.
While Senate Leadership is crafting their repeal bill—perhaps hoping no one will notice or understand the impact before it goes to a vote—now is the time to stay engaged.
Our elected officials should be listening to America’s moms who understand the value of high quality and affordable health care for themselves and their babies.
What’s your experience with health care or health insurance? What are your concerns for the future? Share your thoughts and we’ll make sure to share them with policymakers here in Washington. They need to hear from all of us. Before it’s too late.