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Thursday
Aug092018

We must protect people with pre-existing conditions!

People with pre-existing conditions are speaking out!

Deneen Robinson of Texas knows personally the importance of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) protections for people with pre-existing conditions, which ensure they cannot be denied health insurance, charged more or otherwise discriminated against. “When I was diagnosed with HIV in 1991,” Deneen says, “the doctors told me I only had three years to live. But I’m still here. I’ve raised two children, now 29 and 30 years old. Thanks to the ACA, I was able to get health care, despite my pre-existing health conditions, and to stay alive and healthy enough to take care of my family.”

For Deneen, being able to receive the health care she needs has enabled her to help others through her work as Program Director atThe Afiya Center in Dallas, which is a Raising Women’s Voices regional coordinator. “Not only have I had more time with my family, I’ve been able to advance in my career. I now work full time to make sure that other black women of color have access to the care they need. In the course of this work, I’ve seen first-hand how many women, especially black women, the ACA helps – and how many Texans would lose health care due to pre-existing conditions without the ACA’s protections.”

But now Deneen and others with pre-existing conditions are fighting to keep those life-saving protections!  A group of conservative state Attorneys General have filed alawsuit alleging that the ACA’s protections for people with pre-existing conditions are unconstitutional. The Trump administration has refused to defend the ACA in this case, which could make its way to the Supreme Court.

Deneen wrote an article for TribTalk, a publication of the Texas Tribune, speaking out about her concerns:  “The recent announcement of a new vacancy on the Supreme Court creates even more danger for the clients of The Afiya Center, my community and other women like me. President Donald Trump’s nominee, Brett Kavanaugh, will further undermine the ACA…Black women and other women of color will be among the hardest hit if President Trump and his conservative court succeed in stripping away the protections built into the ACA.”

She pointed out that, “Nationally, 129 million Americans with pre-existing conditions could face discrimination from insurance companies if the ACA’s protections are repealed. These companies could charge us sky-high rates – or deny us coverage altogether. People like me could lose our homes, our savings, or even worse: our lives.” You can read the rest of Deneen’s powerful article here.

What can you do to protect women and families with pre-existing conditions?

Raising Women’s Voices is joining with national partner groups to raise awareness about the attacks on protections for people with pre-existing conditions, while elevating the voices of people who would be affected, like Deneen Robinson.  Do you or a loved one have a pre-existing condition that insurers could use to deny you coverage, if the ACA protections were eliminated? Check the list below. Remember that before the ACA, women were often denied coverage for other “pre-existing conditions” such as having had a Cesarean section delivery, or having been a victim of sexual assault or domestic violence.
 

 
You can participate in any of the following activities:
  • Share personal stories about how you or your loved ones would be affected by rolling back protections for pre-existing conditions. Use  the hashtag #130MillionStrong, which the Protect Our Care coalition is using to remind us of how many people have pre-existing conditions and to communicate our determination to stand strong against attempts to roll back ACA protections.
  • Join a Twitter Chat on August 23 focusing on protections for pre-existing conditions. We’ll have more details about this in next week’s newsletter.
  • Contact your members of Congress  and ask them to sign resolutions that have been introduced in the House and Senate in support of joining the Democratic AGs defending the court case
  • Spread the word to friends, family and colleagues about the multiple threats to protections for people with pre-existing conditions, including  Trump’s SCOTUS nominee and short term “junk” plans.
Odds are we all know someone who lives with a pre-existing condition. Now is the time to speak out to protect our care! Stay tuned for further opportunities for action throughout the campaign!

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