People of color to be disproportionately impacted by disastrous Graham-Cassidy bill

[ Originally published on this site as post ]

Even though they had about seven years to come up with a reasonable alternative to Obamacare, Republicans waited until the last possible minute to come up with one disastrous healthcare bill proposal after another. Graham-Cassidy might be the worst of the bunch insofar as its potential to do things like rob states of billions of dollars and prevent women from accessing abortions through health insurance. Hell, even the White House is admitting that it doesn’t really know what the impact of passing this nightmare will be. But what is known is that it will have tangible, negative consequences for the most marginalized Americans, especially communities of color. According to Chris Lu and Kathy Ko Chin, two health advocates who worked on getting Obamacare passed into law: 

Under the ACA, 2 million Asian Americans and NHPIs gained health coverage or are eligible for coverage. In our community, uninsurance decreased by 57% for Asian Americans and by 47% for NHPIs.

Yet, if Graham-Cassidy becomes law, up to 32 million Americans could lose health coverage. States would be able to eliminate protections for people with pre-existing conditions, a key protection that deeply impacts the Asian American and NHPI community, which suffers disproportionately from chronic hepatitis B, liver and stomach cancer, diabetes and tuberculosis.

Lu and Ko Chin go on to explain that half of Asian Americans have diabetes or pre-diabetes, both of which are conditions that, under Graham-Cassidy, could lead to increases in insurance premiums totaling thousands of dollars. And there’s more. This plan places caps on Medicaid funding—a particularly reckless and dangerous proposal because so many communities of color rely on Medicaid for their healthcare services.

One in six Asian Americans and one in three Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders rely on Medicaid as their only form of health coverage. For other racial groups, the effects of Graham-Cassidy’s Medicaid cuts would be equally devastating. Currently, Medicaid covers 33% of African Americans and 31% of Hispanics.

Republicans continue to show their complete disdain for people of color and anyone who isn’t wealthy enough to afford private health insurance. This is a plan that will not only leave millions uninsured and lacking access to quality care but will also likely bankrupt people as they try to figure out how to pay for sky-high premiums, medicines and required care that keeps them and/or family members alive. We need to do everything we can to make sure this bill does not become law.

Don’t let up the pressure. Don’t relax. LIGHT UP THE PHONE LINES. Call your senators at (202) 224-3121 and urge them to vote “NO” on any repeal bill. (After you call, please tell us how it went.)