Senate “health” bill cuts healthcare access for 22 million more Americans
We now know why Senate Republicans cloaked their version of the healthcare bill in secrecy, and why they now want to rush the bill to the Senate floor for a vote with no committee hearings and no public testimony: 22 million people would lose healthcare coverage over the next decade if the Better Care Reconciliation Act becomes law, according to the Congressional Budget Office.
Those who stand to lose the most if the bill passes are those communities that have the least ground to lose. If you’re a member of the 1% or a shareholder in the pharmaceutical or healthcare industries, you’re in luck and will benefit from the BCRA’s generous tax cuts for the wealthy. If, on the other hand, you need access to quality, affordable healthcare, or a functioning public health infrastructure that prevents illness and injury, or resources to help your community become a safer, more equitable place to live, this bill wasn’t written for you.
So far, most of the national debate over healthcare has focused on access to care and the millions who stand to lose access, as it certainly should. Furthermore, when we turn our attention “upstream” toward the resources and programs that help people stay healthy and safe in the first place, the picture is just as grim. Instead of investing in the community-based resources that support health and equity, the BRCA would zero out the Prevention and Public Health Fund and drain funds from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Rolling back these vital investments in public health will mean more suffering, more premature death, and higher healthcare costs from preventable illnesses and injuries.
This bill pays for tax cuts with people’s lives and preventable suffering, and sacrifices the wellbeing of the next generation, especially children growing up in poverty and children with special healthcare needs, to line the pockets of the wealthy. The cuts this bill proposes – to Medicaid, to public health and prevention – would touch every community, especially those communities that are struggling most with longstanding inequities in health and safety, structural racism, and economic disinvestment.
The Senate is still expected to vote later this week, and the bill will fail if only three Senate Republicans defect. This vote will be close, and every senator – Democrat or Republican -- needs to hear from their constituents. Find out how to contact your senators by phone and email here. Urge your friends and colleagues to do the same.
Your message can be simple:
“I am gravely concerned by the Senate’s efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act. I do not support any efforts that would take healthcare away from 22 million more Americans and oppose all efforts to repeal the Prevention and Public Health Fund. Please oppose efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act and the Prevention and Public Health Fund.”
Even if the vote is delayed, or the bill fails to pass, we've learned from experience with the House bill that the risk of passage will resurface when Congress returns from recess. Over the coming months, we will need to continue to speak up for public health, prevention, and healthcare access in every community.