“Both the Senate and House bills are not about improving care and coverage, but about billions in tax cuts for millionaires, insurers and drug companies,” said Karen Malcolm, coordinator of the Protect Our Healthcare Coalition as she stood in front of the Rhode Island State House, addressing a crowd of nearly 100 people gathered for a “Save Our Healthcare Rally.”
Malcolm maintains that, “Like the House bill [the American Health Care Act (AHCA)], [the Senate bill, the Better Care Reconciliation Act (BCRA)] will slash the number of uninsured by 15 million next year and 22 million over time. It effectively eliminates Medicaid coverage for adults age 19-64, putting 70,000 Rhode Islanders who have health insurance under Medicaid at risk. It radically changes the Medicaid state/federal funding partnership and cuts it by $772 billion over ten years, an even deeper cut than the AHCA, threatening health care and long term services for seniors, people with disabilities, children and low-income working people. In Rhode Island, like in many states, about 25 percent of residents participate in Medicaid. [The BCRA] erodes protections for people with pre-existing conditions and explodes premiums for people 50 years and older.”
Malcolm thanked the Rhode Island congressional delegation for being stalwart defenders of federal healthcare and called on the General Assembly to support heir efforts.
The bills that attempt to repeal the Affordable Care Act [ACA, aka Obamacare] would take us back to the days when mental healthcare services were not valued and people would fall through the cracks, leading to extended crisis rather than recovery,” said Charles Feldman, chair of the Mental Health Recovery Coalition of Rhode Island, “The upshot is that having access to healthcare is a matter of life and death.”
“This is the worst bill for women’s health in a generation,” said Dr Christine Brousseau on behalf of the Rhode Island section of the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. “States would be able to get rid of important regulations that protect reproductive and women’s health care including reducing access to maternity care and charging women more for coverage. Finally, these bills would devastate millions of Planned Parenthood patients by cutting them off from the doctors and nurses they trust.”
The Reverend Doctor Donald Anderson, executive minister of the Rhode Island Council of Churches wasted no words when he said, “Healthcare is not essentially a political issue. It is a moral issue. Let’s name it for what it is. The legislation before the Senate right now is evil and sinful.”
The coalition supports legislation submitted by Rhode Island State Senator Joshua Miller (Democrat, District 28, Cranston), and passed in the Senate, that would ensure that many of the patient protections required by the ACA are made a permanent part of Rhode Island’s healthcare system. The Rhode Island Market Stability and Consumer Protection Act would protect women who might be charged more for healthcare and allow parents to keep their children on their healthcare plans until age 26, protect access to maternity care, prenatal care, mental health.
The bill has not yet passed the Rhode Island House. The legislative session ends today.