As we reported last week, President Trump has engaged in a full-on assault on the Affordable Care Act (ACA), also known as Obamacare, and Americans who desperately need access to health care.
Let’s review: In recent weeks, the president undermined access to contraceptive services for women and protections against discrimination based on gender and sexual orientation. He created an environment to flood the insurance market with junk insurance plans and increased vulnerability to predator insurers. And finally, he signed an Executive Order that, if enacted, would dramatically reduce access to healthcare for poor people and Black people by undermining the insurance subsidy programs.
As we’ve said before the ACA has been extremely important to expanding healthcare access in Black communities. We need to be clear that any and all attacks on Obamacare are direct attacks on Black communities. It is our community that will bear the majority of the burden from these cuts and Executive Orders.
The president has made his intentions clear and is taking action. We have to step up to the challenge. Next Wednesday, the 2017 open-enrollment period for Obamacare begins. Americans without health insurance or Americans who need to make changes in their current health plans have six weeks to sign up through the health exchanges or change plans. The administration is doing everything in their power to suppress enrollment in the ACA. They have cut the enrollment period in half; they have refused to allocate appropriate levels of funding for outreach and awareness about the open-enrollment period; and they’re literally shutting down the website between 12 midnight and 12 noon on each Sunday during the open-enrollment period.
This is all designed to reduce the number of people who sign up for health insurance that they desperately need through the ACA marketplace. These are cynical and mean-spirited acts designed to further deny people access to health care.
So here are some facts:
· Contrary to what the president might say or tweet, the ACA is not dead yet.
· The exchanges will open next week on November 1.
· And the subsidies to help poor people afford their premiums and out-of-pocket expenses are still in place and required by law.
We need to stand up to the bullies and make sure that folks have the information that they need to enroll.
The Black AIDS Institute and our healthcare-access partners are fanning out to visit cities around the country to conduct workshops and trainings and seminars to help people understand what they need to know and to fight for their rights for affordable health care.
If you want to join us or want information about any of the work we are doing, or want to receive any of the materials we’re developing, please contact Lestian McNeal at LestianM@BlackAIDS.org
In this issue, we run two stories about the Trump administration’s attempts to gut the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare. In the first piece, reporter Freddie Allen describes the administration’s efforts to sabotage the law, focusing on the attempts to undermine the open-enrollment period on the federal health insurance marketplace, Healthcare.gov, which opens on November 1 and closes on December 15. In the second piece, he describes the disproportionate impact that President Trump’s recent executive orders will have upon people living with HIV and AIDS as well as poor and Black Americans.
In the meantime, our friends at Kaiser Health News report that as President Trump attempts to cripple the law the vast majority of Americans favor its repair. We also provide an update on NIH’s work to create microbicides for men and women and request for public comments. Finally, we run a piece about the role of race in partisan gerrymandering in the Gill v. Whitford case that was recently argued before the Supreme Court.
Yours in the struggle,