HEALTH SERVICES ARE A FUNDAMENTAL HUMAN RIGHT
(Washington, DC – June 16, 2017) NCNW believes that access to affordable health care services is a basic human right. NCNW supports the availability of comprehensive health services to all persons regardless of income or socioeconomic status. NCNW also believes that access and availability of health services should not be restricted by age, geography or pre-existing condition.
According to the American Medical Association, “by replacing income-based premium subsidies with age-based tax credits, the American Health Care Act (AHCA), as passed by the U.S. House of Representatives, will also make coverage more expensive – if not out of reach – for poor and sick Americans.”
In May, 2017, AARP identified these important gaps in the AHCA. At the time, the legislation would:
1. Impose an age tax. Insurers could increase charges to older adults up to five times what younger consumers pay for health insurance;
2. Allow insurers to charge higher premiums to 25 million people ages 50 to 64 who have a preexisting condition, such as cancer, diabetes or heart disease;
3. Permit states to force people with pre-existing conditions into high-risk pools with sky-high premiums;
4. Jeopardize coverage of essential benefits such as emergency services, hospitalization, mental health services and chronic disease management;
5. Cut Medicaid funding by $880 billion over 10 years. More than 17 million low-income seniors, children and adults with disabilities rely on Medicaid;
6. Leave millions of Americans without health insurance. Under this legislation, as many as 22 million people would lose their health care coverage within a decade, according to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO).
The American people sense there is a serious problem with the proposed legislation. According to the New York Times, “In recent national polls, fewer than 30 percent of Americans support the bill (AHCA.) It is the most unpopular piece of major legislation Congress has considered in decades – even more unloved than TARP (‘the bailout’), and much more unpopular than the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare.”
We urge Senators to keep the best interests of all Americans in mind as they craft legislation that affects 16% of the U.S. economy and millions of American families. We further urge the Senate to:
a. Hold public hearings so that the American people can understand the proposed changes before they occur;
b. Publish the draft legislation in advance of any vote so that the American people may express their support/opposition to various provisions;
c. Consider a “Medicare for All” plan similar to those in Canada and Australia;
d. Empower state and federal policy makers to improve the health care marketplaces by building on the advances offered by the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare);
e. Reject efforts to roll back Medicaid or punish states that chose to expand Medicaid.
NCNW is a coalition of organizations, comprised of 200 community-based sections and 38 national women’s organizations that enlightens, inspires and connects more than 3,000,000 women and men. Its mission is to lead, advocate for and empower women of African descent, their families and communities. NCNW was founded in 1935 by Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune, influential educator and activist, and for more than fifty years, the iconic Dr. Dorothy Height was president of NCNW.
Today, NCNW’s programs are grounded on a foundation of critical concerns known as “Four for the Future”. NCNW promotes education with a special focus on science, technology, engineering and math; encourages entrepreneurship, financial literacy and economic stability; educates women about good health and HIV/AIDS; promotes civic engagement and advocates for sound public policy.