For 7 years, Republicans in Congress actively worked to undermine, defund, and voted to repeal the Affordable Care Act. They promised to replace it with a plan that would cover more people and bring costs down. These were false promises. Instead, they put forth a bill that threatens 24 million Americans’ health care coverage.
Two hundred and seventeen members voted in favor of the American Health Care Act (AHCA) or TrumpCare, including all 14 California House Republicans. Unlike the thoughtful and collaborative approach conducted by President Barack Obama, this plan was rushed, voted on without fiscal analysis from the Congressional Budget Office, and without input from health care experts and medical professionals. In fact, some members who voted in favor admitted to not reading the whole bill before they cast their vote.
While President Donald Trump and House Republicans were celebrating on the White House lawn, millions of Americans were worrying. Will I lose my care? Will I go broke because I got sick? These are questions going through the minds of people who, many for the first time, are able to get care under the Affordable Care Act.
Their actions disproportionally hurts the African American community. Because of the Affordable Care Act, the percentage of African Americans who lacked health insurance coverage was 24.9 percent in 2013 and dropped to 15.1 percent in 2016. Repeal of the ACA provisions are projected to cause the uninsured rate among African Americans to rise to 20 percent by 2019 (Center for American Progress, 2/28/17).
Provisions in the Affordable Care Act, such as access to health insurance regardless of a pre-existing condition, expanded coverage of Medicaid, and funding for preventive health services for women, like those offered at Planned Parenthood, have contributed to more African Americans gaining health insurance coverage. In California, we have done everything possible to make sure the Affordable Care Act works. We expanded Medicaid, we set up the health care exchanges, and we pushed for more outreach by Covered California into the African American community.
With TrumpCare, these gains would be halted in their tracks, leading to African Americans losing their coverage and making it impossible for the uninsured to get access.
This may be the first battle President Trump and House Republicans have won, but the fight is far from over. I am calling on each one of you to call your Senators and ensure they hear our concerns. Let’s unite and Stop TrumpCare.
– Assemblymember Chris Holden, Chair of the California Legislative Black Caucus