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Thursday
May182017

Sound the alarm! We must #ProtectMedicaid




Now that the conservative campaign to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA) has moved to the Senate, we need to shift our ACA defense strategies and messages to anticipate what the Senate Republicans are likely to do. Many analysts expect the Senate, in writing its own ACA repeal bill, to drop or appear to address those elements of the House bill that undermine protections for people with pre-existing conditions. That will still leave us with legislation that slashes Medicaid coverage for millions of women and their families in order to fund tax cuts for the wealthy.

That’s why Raising Women’s Voices and many of our health care allies are focusing renewed attention on Medicaid as the cornerstone of coverage for low-income women across their lifespans. We urge you to help sound the alarm in defense of the Medicaid program. You can start today by joining the #ProtectMedicaid tweet chat from 3 to 4 p.m. Eastern (noon to 1 Pacific).  

Follow us @RWV4Healthcare to re-tweet our tweets! Here are a few sample tweets you can use to answer questions that will be posed by our colleagues at @Families USA, which is leading the Tweet Chat:

  • Medicaid cover half of all births in the U.S. #ProtectMedicaid
  • Family planning services funded by Medicaid prevent an estimated 2 million unintended pregnancies each year. #ProtectMedicaid
  • Screening for cervical cancer funded by Medicaid has prevented an estimated 2,000 deaths since the ACA expansion. #ProtectMedicaid
 
Join our Facebook live chat TODAY to get the big picture

 
Looking for the big picture of how the Senate Republicans are likely to make Medicaid cuts a big part of their own bill to repeal and replace the ACA? Join a Facebook Live chat this morning with Sarah Christopherson, who is Policy Advocacy Director for the National Women’s Health Network and Raising Women’s Voices’ expert on Congressional action. Sarah worked for Congress from 2005 to 2015, including serving as the Washington Director to Congresswoman Niki Tsongas (D-MA) from 2010 to 2015.
 
“The Trumpcare Fight in the Senate: What’s at Stake for Women” is taking place today at 11 a.m. on Facebook. Follow this link to watch live or share on social media.


Why is Medicaid so important for women’s health across our lifespans?


For low-income young women, Medicaid is an important source of coverage for family planning services and for preventive care, such as Pap smears and STD screenings. In 2014, family planning services funded by Medicaid prevented an estimated 2 million unintended pregnancies and 2,000 deaths from cervical cancer through preventive screening. Read more here.

For low-income pregnant women, Medicaid is an essential source of maternity care. Medicaid covers nearly half of all births nationally.

In 24 states, it pays for 50% or more of the births. You can see those states in the darker blue in the map at right, which was prepared by the Kaiser Family Foundation. 

To learn more, go here.


For millions of elderly women, Medicaid is an essential source of coverage. Women live longer and are more likely to have a chronic illness as we age. Women are 73 percent of the patients in nursing homes and 67 percent of those receiving home care. Medicaid finances half of long-term care in the U.S.


Holding the House GOP and Trump administration accountable!


While we are turning our attention to the Senate, Raising Women’s Voices and our regional coordinators are also working to hold accountable those members of the House of Representatives who voted for the American Health Care Act (AHCA, aka Trumpcare).

RWV regional coordinator Maura Collingsru of New Jersey Citizen Action (at left in photo, with megaphone) rallied outside of Congressman Tom MacArthur’s (R-NJ 3) Town Hall meeting in Willingboro, NJ, last week. MacArthur played a big role in the crafting of the AHCA, and as a result, was met by hostility from constituents who expressed their concerns over Republicans’ attempts to repeal the ACA. The meeting lasted for nearly five hours, and featured the voices and stories of New Jersey residents who would lose coverage if the House’s repeal bill were to pass in the Senate. New Jersey Citizen Action will continue weekly vigils outside of MacArthur’s office, and plans to organize vigils at other House GOP offices next week.

WV FREE, our Charleston-based regional coordinator, was there when Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price visited West Virginia to speak to state and local policymakers about their efforts to combat West Virginia’s opioid crisis. Anduwyn Williams, WV Free’s Director for Reproductive Health Access, joined a crowd that stood outside of the Governor’s office, where Price’s meeting took place, holding signs that read "Don't Take Away My Health Care." Price refused to meet with or answer questions from WV FREE, or any of the other health care advocates who came to the Capitol in protest. One reporter was reportedly arrested after repeatedly asking Price whether domestic violence would be considered a pre-existing condition under the AHCA.
 
While West Virginia still has the highest drug overdose death rate in the country, Medicaid expansion has served to reduce the percent of people with substance use or mental health disorders who were hospitalized but uninsured from 23% in 2013 to 5% in 2014. Across the country, Medicaid continues to provide access to behavioral health treatment for several million people with serious mental illness or substance use disorders. The AHCA, a bill that HHS Secretary Tom Price supports, would slash funding for Medicaid, jeopardizing treatment for millions. 

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