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Cuts to health care would have dire effects on working people.

By
Chris Stergalas

As the Senate inches closer to passing its own version of a health care bill in coming weeks, we’re hearing from working people about how changes to the health care law will affect them.

After hearing from nearly 3,000 Working America members, the message is clear: Any cuts to Medicaid, preexisting condition coverage or tax credits will be devastating.

We don’t fully know what the Senate bill will look like yet, because only a handful of the senators who helped write it have actually seen it. What we do know is that whatever it looks like, fewer people will have access to health care under the plan than they do now. The Draconian House version that President Donald Trump and the Republicans rallied behind would kick 23 million people off their health care.

At least half of these cuts are expected to be to Medicaid, an effective program designed for those living in poverty, seniors and people with disabilities. In other words, those most in need of health care will suffer the biggest blow under the Republican plan. Under the existing health care law, the federal government provides funds to states to offer more care to more people by expanding Medicaid. That could all be history.

We’ve heard from working people who will be directly affected by Medicaid cuts, and the outlook is grim.

“Not only will this escalate my health care costs, but my food stamps as well, and [it will] extremely downsize my special low-sugar diabetes [medication] which will in turn affect my health and thus my health. So that my health care will no doubt fully escalate my Healthcare costs.” – Charmane G. Alabama

Lillian in Alaska cares for her disabled brother, and Medicaid helps pay for some of their bills. “I am retired and on a fixed income. If we lose his Medicaid coverage, we could suffer the loss of my home.”

“It will affect our son, who is paralyzed due to an auto accident and is on Medicaid. He is 44 years old. We live on a fixed income, so any cuts in Medicaid will devastate our family, as we are unable to pay for our son’s care.” Hal P., Georgia

“Our son-in-law is currently on Medicaid. He needs a daily prescription drug that without Medicaid would take his entire monthly salary to afford.” Luanne H., Michigan

Quote
We will lose our coverage — period. My company does offer insurance, but the monthly premium would be somewhere around $540 just for medical coverage and doesn't include vision or dental. Without the Medicaid expansion, my children and I will have to go without insurance.
Author
Tonnette R.
Location
Kentucky

Medicaid was signed into law in 1965 by President Lyndon B. Johnson to care for our neighbors most in need. President Trump’s proposed cuts will have dire impacts on people trying to work to make life for their families and themselves better.

One way it is rumored the Senate bill will be different from the House’s is that instead of kicking 23 million people off their health care plans, it will kick off slightly fewer people over a longer period. That’s not a change for the better, that’s still kicking millions of Americans off the health care plans they rely on for themselves and their families.

People who depend on Medicaid are not the only ones who will lose out under these proposals though. One of the most popular and important pieces of the landmark health care law that passed in 2010 was protections for those with preexisting conditions. The bills moving through Congress now could allow states to opt out of the requirement for all health care plans to cover those with preexisting conditions.

As many as 50 percent of Americans could have a condition that insurers may consider preexisting. High blood pressure, pregnancy, alcohol abuse, cancer, arthritis, diabetes or being transgender are some of the many conditions that could affect eligibility.

Working America members are worried about attacks on preexisting conditions because they affect so many of us.

“I was diagnosed with cancer last year, so that makes me a target, as someone with a preexisting condition.” – Laurel B., Wisconsin

“My son was born with spina bifida. No insurance company would cover us due to his preexisting condition. Thanks to the ACA, we have had affordable — not free — insurance since it was enacted. There is no way we could come out of pocket for all his doctor visits and testing, not to mention his braces.” – Brian W. Florida”

I will worry for the health of my parents and grandparents. They would rather live in pain than seek necessary treatment, and risk getting labeled with a preexisting condition.” Carolyn M., Missouri

Quote
I was diagnosed with cancer last year, so that makes me a target, as someone with a preexisting condition.
Author
Laurel B.
Location
Wisconsin

Today, health care is far from perfect in America. But any of the drafts floating around Congress make it worse.

Our leaders need to focus on expanding care and making it more affordable and accessible for all, not cutting it and weakening what plans offer.

Working America has been fighting for better health care since we knocked on our first door in 2003, and we will keep fighting until the government works for all working people. We hope you’ll be there with us.

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