In case there’s anyone left who thinks the Republican Party is representing the needs of women in this country, the contradiction is right in front of us in the form of the Graham-Cassidy+Heller (tagging along) bill.
Amy Friedrich-Karnik, senior federal policy adviser at the Center for Reproductive Rights, pointed to a statistic from progressive think tank the Century Foundation that estimates 13 million women will lose access to maternity care services if the ACA is repealed. Friedrich-Karnik explained that the bill also blocks Medicaid patients from using Planned Parenthood, which bars access to essential preventative care like birth control, cancer screenings, and STD testing and treatment. “It also slashes Medicaid overall and into the future, and so really impacting particularly low-income women and women of color who rely on Medicaid broadly for their health care,” she said. According to the Kaiser Health Network, Medicaid pays for nearly half of all births in America and covers family planning services for 13.5 million women. [Jez]
Not only is the bill a golf ball shot to the back of the head for Nevada women, it could cost the state some $250 million in funding:
Specifically, the proposal would eliminate the marketplace subsidies and federal dollars that states that chose to opt-in to Medicaid expansion under the ACA, like Nevada, currently receive, replacing them with block grants to be doled out to states, which would be left with the responsibility of deciding how to spend that money. It also converts almost the entire Medicaid program to a per capita cap, under which the federal government would set a limit on how much it reimburses states per enrollee, and allows states to waiver certain provisions from the ACA that require insurance companies to cover certain services and bars them from placing annual or lifetime caps on coverage. [NVInd]
Got that? Nevada gets a per capita cap, AND insurance corporations could refuse to cover pre-existing conditions, maternity care, family planning, women’s health care services, AND the corporations could revert to that wonderful old scam — the lifetime limit on coverage. This isn’t as bad as the former “skinny” bill — it’s worse.
Senator Heller might have wanted to give this version some thought before he inked his name on the paperwork to co-sponsor the bill, but he didn’t.
It’s understandable that Nevadans are tiring of calling, writing, and sign making, but if Republicans are nothing else they are persistent. They’re counting on public apathy, ignorance, and fatigue. Not this time. Not on American health care. Not on our watch.
Senator Heller’s Washington DC office number is 202-224-6244. Calls are tallied, and at some point the number of calls opposing this iteration of scam-care needs to impinge on the amount of money Republicans are counting on from the Koch Brothers and other right wing radicals.