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Wednesday
Jun132018

More Trump sabotage of our health care!

Trump’s Title X rule would allow biased counseling
 
Each week, we are highlighting another aspect of Trump’s proposed rule undermining the Title X family planning program, making the point that it is #MoreThanAGagRule. This week, we are flagging the rule’s new definition of “family planning,” which would allow recipients of Title X funding to give you biased counseling that leaves out any mention of contraception. 
 

 
Unlike current Title X regulations that require programs to offer a broad range ofmedically approved family planning services, this new rule would allow programs to offer asingle or a limited number of “specialized” services. The rule also waives the requirement that Title X grantees provide “medically approved” contraceptive methods. The purpose, according to the rule language, is to “encourage a broader range of applicants and permit innovative approaches that may not have been envisioned or supported by past grantees.”
 
This means a Title X grantee could choose to provide only counseling about “natural” family planning methods — like fertility awareness — and abstinence-only education, instead of a full range of methods.  Although fertility awareness is a common form of family planning, it is only 76% effective and relied upon by only 18% of all Title X female patients.  We can easily imagine fake women’s health clinics (like those “crisis pregnancy centers”) getting Title X funding to provide biased counseling to low-income women. 
 
This new approach is especially troublesome because 66% of Title X patients are under the age of 30 and extensive research has shown that abstinence-only approaches cause considerable harm to young people. In order for people to decide which family planning method is right for them, they need to be presented with all of their options.
 
Family planning is a highly personal and extremely private process for many women and navigating the various methods used to help conceive a child or not conceive can sometimes be overwhelming. Choosing to go to a specialized family planning clinic — like one of the almost 4,000 Title X clinics nationwide — can help make that decision a little easier. A staff knowledgeable in women’s health is one of the top reasons that 80% of women who use these clinics choose them for contraceptive care.
 
What can you do now? You can urge your mayor to sign on to a letter addressed to HHS Secretary Alex Azar opposing the Title X rule. Mayors can formally sign-on to the letter HEREMake it clear that this rule will lead to biased counseling and erode the patient-provider relationship. 
 
Trump administration continues to sabotage our health coverage!
 
Last Thursday, the Trump administration announced that it will not defend the Affordable Care Act (ACA) in court, and it now argues that consumer protections for people with pre-existing conditions (such as cancer, asthma or diabetes) are unconstitutional. While the ACA is still in effect, this latest act of sabotage could leave up to 130 million Americans with pre-existing conditions unable to afford comprehensive health care coverage.  If the administration gets its way, insurance companies would also be able to charge women, older people, and people with certain jobs higher premiums.
 
In an unprecedented step of abandoning its legal and constitutional responsibilities to defend current law, the Trump administration has sided with Texas and 19 other states challenging the ACA in federal court. The Republican-led states argue that because Congress repealed the individual mandate's tax penalty as part of the GOP tax law, all of the ACA is invalid. While the Trump administration has not agreed with the states’ request to completely overturn the ACA, the administration is demanding the repeal of insurance provisions protecting people with pre-existing conditions.
 
If they succeed, insurance companies could charge people more based on their health status and deny coverage for people with pre-existing conditions. People may have to fill out discriminatory health questionnaires like this again – with any “yes” responses resulting in people either paying higher premiums or being denied health care. We could return to the pre-ACA days when being a woman was a pre-existing condition.
 
“This is like some kind of sick joke,” said Senator Maggie Hassan, Democrat of New Hampshire, during questioning of Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar at a Senate health committee hearing on Tuesday. This attack on pre-existing condition protections magnifies the anticipated harm of the Trump administration’s proposed rules promoting the sale of “junk” health plans. These plans offer only barebones coverage and discriminate against people with pre-existing conditions.
 
By creating even more uncertainty in the health care markets, the Trump administration could raise health care costs even more for millions of people who are already facingdouble-digit hikes due to previous sabotage.
 
The court has granted permission to a coalition of Democratic attorneys general to defend the ACA. Reed O’Connor, a conservative judge, is presiding over the case in Texas, and his ruling will inevitably be appealed to the conservative 5th Circuit Court of Appeals. This case would likely go to the Supreme Court.

What can you do now? Call your members of Congress and tell them to speak out against the Trump administration’s health care sabotage. Tell them to do all they can to protect coverage for people with pre-existing conditions and make sure women are not once again charged more than men for the same health policy.

 

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