How the Republican Health Care Bill Hurts African Americans
Despite President Trump’s promises that he would replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA) with a plan that would “have insurance for everybody . . . [that is] much less expensive and much better,” the Republican repeal bill does just the opposite. Instead, it rips away coverage from millions and raises out-of-pocket costs for millions more. Working and middle-class families will be stuck with higher premiums and deductibles and much less financial help to cover those hikes, in order to hand out hefty tax breaks to the wealthy and special interests.
The African American community will be particularly hard hit. The Affordable Care Act greatly benefitted Black communities, who are likely to disproportionately suffer the consequences of ACA repeal and the elimination of Medicaid as we know it.
Erasing Coverage Gains
The ACA was a game-changer for African American health.
- Thanks to the ACA, the inequity in uninsured rates for African American and White children was completely eliminated. For the first time in history, a Black child is no longer more likely to be uninsured than a White child.1
- The uninsured rate for African American adults was cut by almost half between 2010 and 2015, from 27 percent uninsured to 14.5 percent uninsured.2
The current Republican bill does not protect this progress—on the contrary, it falls terribly short.
- There are 5 million African Americans in insurance plans that they or their families purchase on their own who could lose that coverage or face dramatic increases in their out of pocket costs.3
- Republican plans to gut the Medicaid program would put 13.9 million African Americans at risk of losing Medicaid benefits or losing Medicaid coverage entirely.4
Making it Worse for People Struggling with Illness
Not having health insurance can be especially devastating for African Americans, a community that suffers disproportionately from a host of conditions that require early detection and treatment, such as asthma, hypertension, diabetes, and certain cancers.5,6 Denying people with these conditions the care they need to manage their health is likely to result in more complications, worse outcomes, and even early death.
In addition, compared to the Affordable Care Act, the Republican bill does not provide the same level of protection for the 17 million African Americans who are estimated to have a pre-existing condition.7 They will face much higher deductibles and copayments to get care, a burden that cannot be shouldered by most people in poor health. There will be a lot less financial help to pay for premiums and out of pocket costs. And if they miss a monthly payment for health insurance, their premium will increase by 30 percent.
Decimating Prevention and Preparedness
Everyone knows that prevention is the key to good health and wellness. Preventing disease not only saves lives, it also saves money. Moreover, ensuring that the nation is prepared to
tackle new threats to public health is a fundamental government responsibility. Yet the Republican bill slashes resources for these essential activities.
- The bill bans Planned Parenthood from receiving any Medicaid funding, which denies thousands of communities who rely on these clinics their source for needed preventive and reproductive care, including in many underserved communities of color.
- The bill kills the Prevention and Public Health Fund, which supports a wide variety of public health services and prevention activities, from critical research at the Centers for Disease Control to community-level programs covering everything from immunization campaigns to preventing lead poisoning to preparing for and responding to outbreaks.8 The Congressional Budget Office projects that $9 billion would be cut between 2017 and 2026.