In Tennessee, 266,000 people gained health insurance, 47,000 children are able to stay on their parents’ insurance up to age 26, and 2.8 million people with pre-existing conditions aren’t denied coverage or charged exorbitant rates. Women can count on coverage of tests for cervical and breast cancer along with BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes and osteoporosis. There is also full coverage for maternity care and domestic violence counseling, as well as a stipulation that women can’t be charged more than men.
Nationally, 27 million women have benefited from having all FDA-approved contraceptive methods available without a co-pay, including emergency contraception. Nearly three in five women have stated they have struggled to afford birth control at some point in their lifetime, including 57 percent of young Latinas and 61 percent of young black women. These are the truths of a program that many antagonists were envious of its success.
I have been a recipient of this program, and it has been a lifesaving alternative with a limited income. Medicaid expansion would have covered more individuals, but the governor and state legislature chose not to expand the program. The federal government would have covered 100 percent for two years and 80 percent of the cost going forward. The Affordable Care Act is a asset for those who cannot afford Cobra insurance or have insurance. ObamaCare has proven to benefit the uninsured, providers, facilities and insurers. A choppy start; but a success nonetheless.
To the Editor:
Soon President-elect Trump’s nominee to become Secretary of Health and Human Services, Rep. Tom Price, R-Ga., will appear before Sen. Lamar Alexander, chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, for his confirmation hearing.
Price’s career illustrates his contempt for the majority consensus that we all deserve quality, affordable health. He has championed measures to take away the Affordable Care Act health coverage from individuals and families by authoring legislation and voting more than 60 times to repeal the ACA without a sufficient replacement to ensure access to care. Additionally, Price has repeatedly supported gutting key health care safety net programs, such as TennCare and CoverKids, as well as nonprofit groups that provide health services at reduced costs.
Price could have a heavy hand regulating away access to quality, affordable health coverage and care if confirmed. It is estimated that an ACA repeal could leave the half-million Tennesseans who gained health care coverage without coverage, again. If a replacement is proposed after the repeal, what will it look like and who will be left behind? Seniors, women, children and people with low incomes – the vulnerable of our state and country. Trump and Price have vocalized their intent to dismantle the ACA, along with ending Medicare and Medicaid as we know them; Price favors harmful proposals that would cut eligibility and benefits for those already facing health care barriers.
Eroding access to affordable coverage would result in an increase of uncompensated care, which could in turn lead to hospital closures. The hardest hit will be hospitals in rural areas. This will mean less access to health care and fewer jobs in these communities.
As a woman of faith, I believe we are all of equal worth; risking millions of lives by jeopardizing access to care is unconscionable.
Price does not grasp the needs of the people in Tennessee, nor the country. His confirmation will lead us back decades in time, returning us to the days of people dying because they couldn’t afford to see a doctor. I urge Sen. Alexander to reject Price’s confirmation and urge all in our state to speak up against this nomination.
We must protect the historic progress we have made advancing access to health care; we can’t afford to go back.
La Quita Martin
Tennessee public advocacy chair
National Council of Jewish Women