Stay Woke: When it Comes to Congressional Deliberations on Health Care, Your Life May Depend on it

GOP congressional efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA/Obamacare), collapsed once again.  Even so, the most recent effort to demise the ACA reveals the magnitude of the power and control 50 senators and a tie-breaking vice president can have in determining the health and fate of a nation comprised of more than 300 million people, and why women of color not only need to stay woke, but get engaged.

After efforts to repeal the ACA were defeated in July, just right before Congress took its August recess, President Trump and Republican members of Congress returned (after Labor Day) with a revitalized fervor and focus to destroy the measure in a two-week timeframe.

Using a procedure known as “reconciliation,” GOP Senators re-ignited a full court press to pass the bill before the FY17 budget cycle ended on September 30th.  Sidestepping CBO scoring, hearings, regular order and other efforts that permitted timely review and input.

The measure, introduced by Senators Bill Cassidy (R-LA) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC), proposed conversion of insurer subsidies and Medicaid expansion into state block grants. The bill also would have eliminated protection for pre-existing conditions, and individual and employer mandates (which could be reinstated by the states).

Some of the main takeaways of the most recent Senate bill:

Federal funding of Medicaid gradually faded out.

  • Any cut or ending of Medicaid will significantly impact low-income families, women, and people with disabilities who rely on the federally-funded program for essential healthcare.

Planned Parenthood funding blocked for one year.

The bill blocked federal reimbursements to Planned Parenthood for a year, meaning many women would no longer be able to get maternity and family planning care.