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Need new health insurance NOW?

If you experience certain life changes, you don’t have to wait for Open Enrollment in November to enroll in affordable health coverage on healthcare.gov or your state’s marketplace. You have 60 days after the following events to apply for a Special Enrollment Period and enroll:

• Moving to a new zip code or county
• Getting married or divorced
• Having a baby, adopting or becoming a foster parent
• Becoming a U.S. citizen or getting a green card

You have 60 days before or after the following to enroll: 

• Losing your health insurance from your job
• Turning 26 and aging off your parent’s health plan

And if you are experiencing domestic violence and want to apply for your own health plan, you can do so at any time.

Learn more about Special Enrollment Periods at healthcare.gov or call 1-800-318-2596.

 

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« Celebrate ACA advances for women’s health! | Main | Conservative states pushing for change »
Thursday
Mar142019

Trump budget horrors; repro wins in WV!

Trump budget horrors: Cuts to Medicare, Medicaid, repeal of the ACA

This week, the White House rolled out its budget request for fiscal year 2020 and it’s exactly what we’ve come to expect from the Trump administration. The LA Times characterized it this way: "Trump has taken the lack of regard for budgets to new lows, reflecting his own lack of interest in policy details, his administration’s thin staffing and its overall ambivalence about the nitty-gritty of policy-making." 


Trump’s request for $8.6 billion in new border wall funding grabbed most of the headlines because it sets up another potential showdown with Congress this fall. The budget’s draconian approach to programs that benefit poor and middle-class families and wildly unrealistic economic assumptions have gotten less coverage, perhaps because they’re in keeping with the budgets House Republicans passed for years.

Over the next 10 years, the White House budget quietly proposes making the 2017 tax cuts for the ultra-wealthy permanent (by building the costs into its revenue assumptions) while imposing staggering cuts to Medicare, Medicaid, and other public health programs, food stamps, public education and more.

The budget revives the Trumpcare zombie, repealing the Affordable Care Act and the Medicaid expansion, and replacing them with a Graham-Cassidy style block grant. As we wrote when it was first proposed in 2017, this would gut protections for pre-existing conditions and give states free rein to reinstate all of the worst insurance practices of the bad old days. That means insurance companies could once again charge non-smoking women more than smoking men, treat rape and domestic violence as pre-existing conditions, reinstate annual and lifetime caps on coverage, and drop patients from coverage as soon as they got sick.

A Center on Budget and Policy Priorities analysis concludes that the combination of these funding cuts and the imposition nationwide of bureaucratic red tape—such as additional citizenship documentation and work requirements designed to cut people from the program—would take Medicaid coverage away from millions of vulnerable people. We know that women would be particularly hard hit. The budget also envisions cutting between $575 and $845 billion from Medicare (depending on how one counts)—potentially making it harder for seniors to access care—and $25 billion from Social Security.

Absurdly, the budget also predicts uninterrupted economic growth for the next decade. As the Washington Post reported, “To achieve Trump’s projection, the economy would have to grow at A-plus potential for years with no recessions, something the United States has not achieved before.”

Even with these deep cuts and economic fantasies, the budget still shows trillion-dollar deficits in 2020 and for years to come. While progressives are rightly distrustful of deficit hawks who moralize about the debt in order to attack social safety net programs, these numbers show the opportunity and need for women’s health advocates to start talking boldly about taxation. The GOP’s own numbers prove that even taking health care away from millions of Americans and pretending we’ll never face a recession again isn’t enough to make up for the budget holes their tax policies created.

In 1981, the year the first Millennials were born, the top marginal tax rate in the U.S. was 69 percent. From 1951 to 1963, the top rate never dropped below 91 percent. These were the birth years of the Boomers, when significant government investment in education, infrastructure and science helped fuel a strong white middle class (even as Jim Crow policies excluded many Black families from those gains). Conservatives have so successfully shifted the window on taxes that even a Washington Post economics reporter had no idea such a thing was possible. But higher top tax rates worked, here, in the United States, in our lifetimes, and proactively re-normalizing bold taxation is necessary for protecting our existing social safety net and expanding high quality, low-cost coverage to everyone.

Big wins for reproductive health in West Virginia!

WV FREE, our Charleston-based regional coordinator, recently had not one, but TWO policy victories that will expand reproductive health coverage and access for West Virginian womenIn photo above, WV FREE Executive Director Margaret Chapman Pomponio, Communications Director Julie Warden and advocate Renate Pore watch as one of the bills, SB 564, passes the West Virginia Legislature. In photo at below, WV FREE babies Remi, Wendell, and Sylivie joined their parents at the West Virginia State Capitol building for the passage of the Family Planning Access Act 

The first bill, SB 564, expands Medicaid and CHIP coverage for pregnant women between 185 percent and 300 percent of the federal poverty level, and includes prenatal care, delivery and 60 days postpartum care.  According to the West Virginia Center on Budget and Policy, over 24,000 women age 19 to 44 in the state did not have health insurance in 2017. Among new mothers in that age range, an estimated 3 percent (about 535) did not have health insurance, making the cost of childbirth out of reach for many.

In West Virginia, the average cost of childbirth ranges from $10,000 for a vaginal birth, and $14,000 for a C-section, combined with $20,000 for pre- and postnatal care, West Virginia Center on Budget and Policy reports. By expanding access to care before, during, and after pregnancy, SB 564 will help improve the health and wellbeing of West Virginian mothers and children.

A second proactive reproductive health bill, the Family Planning Access Act, also recently passed in West Virginia, and now goes to the governor’s desk. HB 2583 would increase access to contraception by allowing pharmacists to dispense birth control (in the form of a pill, ring or patch) over the counter to any woman who is 18 or older. If signed by West Virginia Governor Jim Justice, this bill would make West Virginia the 10th state in the country with over the counter access to birth control.

Reflecting on their wins, WV FREE Communications Director Julie Warden said, “It was heartening to see a focus on family planning as opposed to abortion restrictions. We look forward to working in a bipartisan effort to pass more bills like this in the future.” 

Save the Date! ACA Anniversary Twitter Storm

This month marks the 9th Anniversary of the ACA. Raising Women's Voices is celebrating with a Twitter Storm on March 21, 3-4 pm ET.  Along with our regional coordinators and over a dozen national partners, we will celebrate the many ways the ACA has improved access to health care in America—especially for women, LGBTQ people, immigrants, people of color, low-income people and those with disabilities. We're creating a toolkit participants can use with graphics highlighting some of the advances we gained with the ACA:

  • Birth control coverage free from co-pay or deductible
  • Pre-existing condition coverage
  • Breast and cervical cancer screening
  • Ending sex discrimination in health coverage
  • Maternity care coverage
  • Mental health coverage
  • Preventive care for children
  • Staying on parent’s insurance until 26

Want to receive the toolkit and join in the Twitter Storm? Email amy@raisingwomensvoices.net

Protecting Title X!

Planned Parenthood launched a Protect X campaign yesterday to protest the Trump administration’s Tile X rule, due to go into effect shortly.  Raising Women’s Voices was on hand at the kick-off rally in Washington, D.C.  Shown above are Maggie Gorini and  Mackenzie Flynn, both interns with the National Women’s Health Network, one of the RWV national coordinating organizations.

The new Trump rule would threaten care for more than 4 million low-income people, more than half of whom identify as Black, Hispanic or Latino. That care includes birth control, cancer screenings, STI tests and other preventive care. The rule would deny Title X funding to any clinics, such as Planned Parenthood affiliates, that also provide abortions, unless move abortions to a whole new clinic, which would impose significant financial burdens. Title X providers would also be prohibited from directly referring a patient for an abortion. 

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