The party that claims to be “pro-life” is attempting to strip life-saving coverage and care from society’s most vulnerable and needy. Cuts to Medicaid, reductions in subsidies, and elimination of essential benefits will result in sub par coverage for some, no coverage for many and billions in tax breaks for the wealthy.
It’s time to state the obvious: The republicans are not the “pro-life” party, they are the “pro-lifestyles of the rich and famous” party.
According to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), Republican attempts to repeal all or portions of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) will reduce the number of people covered by 22 million to 32 million in the next decade. This is in addition to those who already lack coverage, resulting in nearly 60 million uninsured. Republicans claim that those who go uncovered will do so simply out of choice. However, the CBO refutes this theory. In fact, Republicans are eliminating the choice for many because without subsidies they will no longer be able to afford coverage.
The cuts to Medicaid are particularly cruel, impacting those most vulnerable in our communities: the elderly, the disabled, special needs children, the mentally ill and the poor.
Massive reductions to Medicaid mean states will no longer be able to subsidize assisted living and nursing facilities for the financially or medically needy, leaving many families to grapple with caring for aging loved ones.
Medicaid funds school and public services that benefit children with special needs. Pennsylvania schools received approximately $135 million last year to provide support services. Slashing Medicaid funds would make it difficult for schools to accommodate these students while placing an additional burden on state and local taxpayers.
Medicaid also empowers adults living with disabilities; such services allow disabled individuals to live at home, attend school, and access the necessary medications and healthcare services they need to live productive lives. Trump’s healthcare and budget proposals threaten their very livelihood. Senator Casey attempted on Wednesday, through an amendment, to protect coverage for those with disabilities; Republicans unanimously opposed the measure.
For many living with mental health or drug-related, conditions, Medicaid-subsidized services are the difference between life and death. In one version of the Republican plan, states could opt out of mental health coverage and in another version Medicaid would no longer be required to cover the ten essential benefits, which include drug and mental health treatments. Either way, families struggling to find help for their loved ones will have limited or no options.
All the proposals put forth by the Republicans agree on one thing: eliminating the federal mandate. This is the ACA provision that requires individuals to choose between purchasing healthcare and paying a penalty. The problem with eliminating the mandate is that it discourages low-risk people from purchasing healthcare – the very same people who help stabilize costs for the rest of us. Without a mandate, premium costs will likely skyrocket, leaving healthcare coverage unobtainable for many. The CBO predicts that without the mandate, premiums would rise by 20% just in the next year.
President Trump has called the republican health care plan “mean” while simultaneously pressuring Congress to pass anything, regardless of the consequences. Frustrating matters more, his budget calls for massive cuts to Medicaid. Trump’s administration will place undue pressure on states to fund Medicaid services—¬this, while many states, including Pennsylvania, are failing to balance budgets.
The good news is if you’re extremely wealthy, the Republican plan will reduce your taxes. According to CNBC, Republicans will deliver nearly one trillion dollars in tax cuts, the majority of which will go to the nation’s ultra wealthy. Billionaires will pay significantly less taxes while tens of millions of Americans go without health insurance.
If pro-life is about protecting the most innocent and the most vulnerable, where is republicans’ empathy for children born into poverty? Where is their compassion for those living with disabilities? How can they turn their backs on the elderly and the mentally ill?
Healthcare is a necessity of life these days. Without it, Americans suffer and even die. Supporting healthcare for all is as pro-life as you can get. Take a moment and thank Senator Casey and Governor Wolf for standing up for Pennsylvanians and their right to affordable healthcare.