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Healthcare is a Human Right for All, Not a Privilege for Some

By on 06/13/2017 @ 02:56 PM

By Ebonee Rice, Black Women’s Roundtable Projects Manager

On May 24, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), an independent, nonpartisan office that analyzes the budgetary impact of proposed legislation, released its estimate of the impact of the proposed American Health Care Act. The Republican-backed legislation seeks to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare). According to the CBO score, the bill would increase the number of uninsured by 23 million by 2026.

Firstly, let’s analyze why the CBO score is important. The CBO was highly anticipated because of its commitment to and reputation for objectivity. In short, this is high-stakes. Here are three things you need to know about how the recently rated Trumpcare affects Black women’s health, and the health of our families.

1. According to 2010 Census data, three out of ten Black women have children who depend on them for their healthcare. Obamacare allowed Black women to access routine health care treatment and check-ups with a primary care physician - just to name one provision. Black women stand to lose the most if the Affordable Care Act is repealed and replaced by Trumpcare.

2. America has always been a place that values our oldest citizens. #Trumpcare does not align with these values. According to the CBO, health care costs for low income, elderly people will increase by 850%. San Antonio grandmother Dee McNary has found stability and security in having health coverage. “I didn’t want to be a burden. A mother can take care of herself first and that’s the best gift I can give to my child. People don’t realize that there’s more to having health insurance than being healthy. If I am in a car accident, and even if I’m healthy as a horse, I’ll need to go to the hospital for care. You never know what might happen one day. Health insurance may cost you, but it is a huge peace of mind. It’s worth every penny.”

3. Trumpcare puts essential services at risk. The House bill eliminates Obamacare’s requirement that insurers cover certain essential services. Who does this largely affect? Black women. Many of these services, like mammograms, birth control, and prenatal and maternity care, are used primarily by women, especially women of color and poor women who cannot otherwise afford these services. Women are more likely than men to use mental health care and prescription drugs, both of which are considered essential under Obamacare. If the requirement is scrapped, plans could choose not to offer such services. Plans that offer maternity care could become prohibitively expensive.

Here’s the good news! The National Coalition on Black Civic Participation’s Black Women’s Roundtable, in partnership with AARP, launched the HealthCARE is a Human Right Campaign - a public awareness and call to action campaign focused on protecting healthcare for our seniors, children, young adults and the poor; and protecting social security for seniors, dependents and persons with disabilities. We are fighting back on behalf of grandmothers like Ms. McNary, who recognize that having health insurance is a safety net for all of life’s challenges. Health care coverage must be a right for all, not a privilege for some. Join the BWR movement to spread the word on social media by using the hashtag #NotaPrivilege, and by joining our Thunderclap on June 14th at 3 pm EDT. Click here to join. As Black women, we cannot afford to forgo the peace of mind that comes with making sure we, and our families, are covered.

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