In This Issue

Posted in: News, News 2017

President Trump has made it clear. He is committed to destroying the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare/ACA) thereby taking healthcare away from millions of Americans and destabilizing the health insurance market in the country.


Over the last few weeks the President has taken a number of steps to kill the ACA including, cutting in half the annual open enrollment period, during which people could sign up for insurance or change their plan, reducing dramatically funding to promote the open enrollment period, and closing down the “healthcare.gov” website (the federal website where people enroll in health insurance) for 12 hours on Sundays during the open enrollment period. These are all tactics to undermine the ACA by suppressing ACA enrollment.

Last week, the President made several potentially devastating moves to cripple the ACA. First, the administration removed requirements for companies to offer women contraception services and removed protections against discrimination for LGBT people. The administration also laid the groundwork to flood the market with junk insurance and create two kinds of coverage, one for those who are wealthy, young, and healthy and one for older people, poor people, and people with pre-existing conditions. Thursday night, to this end the President signed an executive order to stop payments of the insurance subsidies that make premiums affordable for poor people.

What this administration has done not only goes against the values of this country, but it is also unabashedly ignores the voices of the millions of Americans who called, wrote, or otherwise contacted their representative to fight for the care they need. In the last few days, President Trump has given the American people an astonishingly clear view into who and what he values. We know that the Affordable Care Act has insured that over 16 million Americans can sleep easily at night knowing that in the event of the unfortunate, they have a healthcare plan that is there to meet their needs. The ACA ensured that more Black Americans have insurance than ever before, more women are receiving essential care, and people living with HIV no longer have to go without care because of their pre-existing condition. The President’s actions and thereby his and the Republican party’s position on healthcare is to ignore the basic needs of everyday Americans and instead cater to the wallets of the wealthy. This is Trumpcare. The President’s announcement and plan to end subsidies to insurance companies is a significant blow to the Affordable Care Act and its ability to ensure care for the millions of Americans who depend on it. By allowing insurers to offer unregulated and substandard insurance policies across state lines, the President has all but ensured that communities disproportionately affected by HIV, HCV, and other pressing health issues will receive substandard healthcare, if they are able to afford any healthcare at all. By expanding short-term coverage and association health plans, this administration has gone against the public will in order to satisfy Wall Street. I say it again; this is Trumpcare.

Over the last few weeks the President has taken a number of steps to kill the ACA including, cutting in half the annual open enrollment period, during which people could sign up for insurance or change their plan, reducing dramatically funding to promote the open enrollment period and closing down the “healthcare.gov” website (the federal website where people enroll in health insurance) for 12 hours on Sundays during the open enrollment period. These are all tactics to undermine the ACA by suppressing ACA enrollment. There are only 14 days left until the start of the open-enrollment period at healthcare.gov. Last week, the President made several potentially devastating moves to cripple the ACA. First, the administration removed requirements for companies to offer women contraception services and removed protections against discrimination for LGBT people. The administration also laid the groundwork to flood the market with junk insurance and create two kinds of coverage, one for those who are wealthy, young, and healthy and one for older people, poor people, and people with pre-existing conditions. Thursday night, to this end the President signed an executive order to stop payments of the insurance subsidies that make premiums affordable for poor people. 

We know where Mr. Trump stands; now is the time for us to make sure he knows where we stand. It is urgent that we act and make our voices and our concerns heard. Even though it may not appear so, we have the power to change the dialogue around the current healthcare discussion right now. Make no mistake, healthcare is a social justice issue and like the many men and women who came before us, we must resist these efforts to turn back the clock. If we as a nation, as leaders of the free world, deem it acceptable to allow Black and Brown communities to access substandard and second-rate care, then what are we really saying about who we are as a country. We are better than that. Women should not be forced to pay more for insurance or medications that are essential to their health and well-being than men—or be denied essential health services unique to them all together. Black people and people of color should not be forced to pay more because of where they live or who represents them in Congress. Black Americans and people living with HIV should not be effectively segregated into high risk pools because the top 1% would like to pay a little less in taxes. This country was founded on the ideals of equal rights, equal opportunities, and equal protection under the law; Trumpcare fails to meet this standard. We can change this. Each of us must join efforts to advocate and fight for affordable and essential healthcare by taking the following actions:

1. Educate yourself about the Affordable Care Act. Learn everything you can about the ACA—what it is, how it really works, what’s in it for you, how do you sign up, what are the essential health benefits, and what is protected. You can’t fight for something that you don’t understand.

2. Contact your state’s Attorney General and urge them to take legal action. The Attorneys General of California, New York, and states around the country are preparing to take legal action to protect the Affordable Care Act and the millions of people that it ensures. Make sure that your state is also taking action.

3. Share your stories on social media, at the dinner table, and over the water cooler at work. How has living in a state where Medicaid was expanded or not expanded impacted your ability to access the care you need? How has having access to essential health benefits and the protections of the ACA impacted your wallet and your well-being? We want to hear from you– share your stories by reaching out to us at LestianM@blackaids.org.

4. Join organizations engaged in the fight. Organizations like the Black AIDS Institute, Planned Parenthood Federation of America, and the National Black Justice Coalition have already begun the conversation, but we need your voice to magnify the impact.

5. Let Washington know where we stand! Write to the White House, write your governor, and call your congressperson and urge them to protect the progress we’ve made as a result of the ACA and to fix what’s broken and not break what works.

Here’s what’s at stake: If you believe everyone should have access to essential affordable healthcare and people should not go bankrupt just because they get sick, then now is the time to act. If you wait, it will be too late.

In this issue of the Black AIDS Weekly, we run a story from our friends at Kaiser Health News that summarizes five things about Trumpcare that you need to know.

We run a piece by journalist Freddie Allen, who reported on the HIV/AIDS panel at this year’s Congressional Black Caucus Annual Legislative Conference, presented by California Congressional Representative Barbara Lee and moderated by the Black AIDS Institute.

Whether Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or YouTube, over the past six months, the Black AIDS Institute has been deeply engaged in outreach via a variety of social media. HIV.gov recently recognized the Institute, Whitman-Walker Health and A Day With HIV, for using Instagram’s social media platform effectively.

At the end of September, President Trump issued an executive order continuing PACHA. Our friends at HIV.gov report. And new research shows just how important self-care is for people living with HIV and AIDS. The study shows that among people who adhere to their antiretroviral medication, smoking is a much greater threat to their health than HIV.

Yours in the struggle,

Phill

 

 

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