ACTION NEEDED NOW
This week, the US Senate released their draft healthcare bill, the Better Care Reconciliation Act (BCRA). A vote on the bill is delayed until next week. So keep the pressure on! We need everyone to continue raising their voices, whether our elected officials are home for recess or back in Washington to continue debate on this bill.
- Please call Senator Todd Young TODAY and ask him to vote NO on the BCRA for the reasons highlighted below.
- Please call Senator Joe Donnelly TODAY to thank him for his stated opposition to this bill for the reasons highlighted below.
BACKGROUND INFORMATION - WHY YOUR ACTION IS NEEDED
The Congressional Budget Office, the nonpartisan federal budget agency, estimates that 22 million Americans will lose health care coverage between now and 2026 under the current draft of the bill. The bill is harmful to Hoosiers as a whole and particularly harmful to women. Here's how:
- Steeply decreased Medicaid funding: The Medicaid program, which was expanded in many states under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), including in Indiana in the form of HIP 2.0, covers millions of low-income Americans and most of those in nursing homes. In Indiana alone, approximately 400,00 Hoosiers receive care through HIP 2.0. The BCRA proposes to cut Medicaid spending by $772 billion over the next 10 years. The CBO estimates that almost 40 percent of adults between the ages of 30 and 49, and who earn just above about the national poverty line (approximately $24,000 for an individual), would not have insurance by 2026 under the Senate bill, many due to the roll back of the Medicaid expansion. According to the AARP, under this bill, "premiums and out of pocket costs for 50-64 year olds buying their own insurance would skyrocket, Medicaid coverage for millions of seniors and people with disabilities would be at risk and the fiscal sustainability of Medicare would be weakened." Medicaid covers more women than men and covers nearly half of all births in the U.S. The U.S. ranks at or near the bottom for both maternal mortality and infant mortality in the developed world. Indiana ranks 44th in maternal mortality and 36th in infant mortality in the nation. Less coverage is likely to make these problems, and others, even worse for women and children.
- Defunding of Planned Parenthood: The BCRA would eliminate Medicaid reimbursements for Planned Parenthood services for at least one year. Planned Parenthood serves almost 2.4 million people a year, including nearly 50,000 patients in Indiana. This defunding provision would jeopardize Planned Parenthood's ability to provide preventative health services to millions of low-income women nationwide. These services include well-woman visits, cervical cancer screenings, access to low-cost contraception and testing for sexually transmitted infections. Unfortunately, many general community health centers, to which some of the money could be diverted, often are not equipped with the same expertise nor provide the same range of services. For example, Indiana Planned Parenthood health centers served nearly 1.4 times more family planning patients than FQHCs did in 2015, despite being outnumbered by FQHCs 4-to-1. Indiana already faces significant provider shortages, ranking 39th lowest in the nation of physicians to population, and women bear the brunt. Over one-third of our counties do not have an OB/GYN. Indiana ranks 47th in the country in cervical cancer screening and 43rd in the country for annual well-woman exams.
- Making "essential health benefits" coverage optional: The BCRA makes it easier for states to opt out of requiring insurers in that state to cover "essential health benefits" (EHBs), which is a requirement under the ACA. According to CMS, EHBs include maternity and newborn care; mental health and substance use disorder services; pediatric services, including oral and vision care; preventive and wellness services and chronic disease management; ambulatory patient services; emergency services; hospitalization; prescription drugs; and some others. Under the state waiver process proposed by the BCRA, states may be allowed to overhaul their insurance markets by eliminating the requirement that insurance plans offer EHBs.
- Less support for opioid addiction treatment: The combination of steep Medicaid cuts and potential waiver of essential health benefits coverage would have a devastating impact on efforts to combat the opioid epidemic around the nation and here in Indiana. According to the Indiana State Dept of Health, from 2011 to 2015, the statewide number of visits to emergency rooms due to non-fatal opioid overdoses soared, increasing by nearly 60 percent in that time period. In 2011, the state saw 1,856 such visits. By 2015 that number grew to 2,977. Nationally, opioid-related hospital visits increased nearly 65% from 2005 to 2014.
You can learn more about the impact of the BCRA here:
- Full text of the CBO Report
- Comparison of the ACA / the BCRA (Senate bill) / AHCA (House bill)
- Medicaid impact
- Groups opposed to the BCRA
- Examining the health bill's potential impact in Indiana:
OTHER ACTIONS YOU CAN TAKE
Other ways to make your voice heard:
- Turn your posts on Facebook into letters to the editor in your local paper. Elected officials pay attention to what’s published and it is an excellent forum to have your voice heard.
- Ask friends and family members to call Senators Young and Donnelly immediately to oppose the BCRA. We provided telephone numbers above.
- If you have been to Planned Parenthood, consider sharing your story here.