By Alex McVey, PhD Candidate, Dept. of Communication, UNC Chapel Hill, Twitter: @JAlexanderMcVey
President Donald Trump suffered an embarrassing set-back on his promise to repeal Obamacare within his first 100 days in office, as the American Health Care Act (AHCA), or Trumpcare as it has affectionately been renamed was crushed by a wave of popular #resistance. Sad!
But Zombie Trumpcare is back from the dead and this time, it’s worse than ever.
Last time around, Republicans failed to get the Freedom Caucus, a radical group of far-right congress members, on board with the AHCA. In an effort to appease the Freedom Caucus, the GOP revised the AHCA to be even worse for poor people, women, the elderly, and the disabled.
The scariest part? This bill actually stands a chance at passing: https://twitter.com/TopherSpiro/status/858678848145285121
One of the reasons this version of the bill appeals to the Freedom Caucus is that it puts protections for pre-existing conditions under threat. As the AARP reports, the revised AHCA allows insurers to charge people with pre-existing conditions like cancer, diabetes, and heart disease.
In an attempt to offset increased premiums for people with pre-existing conditions, the bill creates a Federal Invisible Risk Sharing Program. However, because the AHCA also strips subsidies and shifts costs onto consumers, the risk sharing program would fail to cover the increase in premium costs. The Center for American Progress argues that “the average enrollee would still see their total costs rise by more than $3,000 by 2020.”
In addition to slamming people with pre-existing conditions, Newsweek reports that the bill also allows states to choose to exempt themselves from the ACA’s rules about essential benefits. This means insurers may no longer be required to cover mental health care, emergency services, hospitalization, maternal care, pediatric care, and prescription medicines.
It’s up to us to fight back against the Zombie Trumpcare.Apocalypse. What can you do to get involved?
First, call your representative, and let them know you oppose the AHCA. You can use the following script:
“Hello, I’m a North Carolina voter from (ZIP CODE), and I oppose the AHCA because I support protections for pre-existing conditions and essential medical services. Please vote against the AHCA.”
Need help finding your representative? Just click here, and put in your address to find your representatives.
Third, check out the following progressive organizations doing advocacy work on health care justice here in North Carolina: