Opinion: Obamacare Repeal Would Decimate Social Safety Net for California Women

CCRF’s Executive Director, Juana Rosa Cavero, relates how California created one of the greatest social safety nets in the nation and how the ACA would have helped her and her family. 

Obamacare Repeal Would Decimate Social Safety Net for California Women

By Juana Rosa Cavero, Director, California Coalition for Reproductive Freedom

I was already racked with stress when the organization I had been working for shuttered. My husband was in his last year of graduate school, and I was suddenly unemployed. What was supposed to be exciting news of my first pregnancy abruptly became anxiety when faced suddenly with having very limited and costly health care insurance options.

This was my reality just a few months before the Affordable Care Act (ACA) was enacted, and I was hardly alone. Today the provisions of the ACA protect women in my situation to ensure that they are not cut off from health care insurance if they become unemployed, and that coverage will include basic health services including maternity and reproductive health care coverage.

What changed for me and millions of women with the ACA were provisions that expanded Medicaid to cover more low-income individuals (known as Medicaid Expansion); created health insurance marketplaces where individuals and families could shop for and purchase health coverage, in many cases with federal subsidies to help bring down the cost of premiums and cost-sharing; and provided protections for specific vulnerable groups such as young people, women, and people with preexisting conditions.

California lawmakers and agencies worked hard to make the ACA work for our state.  Because of their efforts to fully implement the ACA, California was able to reduce its uninsured rate by more than half, from 17 percent to 7 percent – the biggest drop of any state in the nation. Because of these efforts to provide broader access to high-quality, comprehensive health care, women now make up just over half (54 percent) of the 13.4 million Californians enrolled in the state’s Medicaid program, Medi-Cal.

Medi-Cal covers more than half of all births in the state as well as 83 percent of the state’s publicly funded family planning services. The expansion of Medi-Cal alone provided health care coverage to more than 1.8 million nonelderly adult women. In addition to insuring more people, the ACA has also provided more robust consumer protections against discrimination in health care – something women, communities of color, and LGBTQ people have long faced.  

Now with its so-called Better Care Reconciliation Act of 2017 (BCRA) seemingly doomed in the Senate, Republican leadership is now vowing to repeal the ACA. We know that a viable replacement plan is unlikely. There are simply too many hard right conservatives in Congress who have stated over and over again that their goal is to “let the ACA fail,” and how better to accomplish that goal than repeal the ACA with no replacement, regardless of the very real on the ground impacts that such repeal would have for tens of millions of Americans?

Repeal of the ACA would disproportionally harm women in California and nationwide. The California Coalition for Reproductive Freedom (CCRF), which I lead, has urged our state’s congressional delegation to stand against any effort to gut Medicaid funding or repeal the ACA. The letter notes that if the ACA were repealed, more than 4 million Californians “stand to lose their health care coverage, the California health system would lose tens of billions of federal dollars, consumer protections would be eliminated, and everyone would see increased health care costs.” Moreover, according to the California Department of Health Care Services, by 2027, the state would lose $30.3 billion annually in federal funding. More than twenty state and national groups working to promote reproductive health and health care rights signed on to our CCRF letter.

California lawmakers in Congress must do everything they can to fight a reckless and callous repeal of the ACA. Access to quality health care is a right for all Californians, not a privilege merely enjoyed by the well-to-do. Politicians pushing or supporting these extreme attacks on Medicaid and the ACA must be called out for attacking the nation’s social safety net. My reproductive healthcare coverage and the coverage of tens of millions of other Californian women should never be a political pawn. I hope you can join me in making sure that our state’s Congressional delegation be front and center in protecting Medicaid and the ACA.

Juana Rosa Cavero, Director, California Coalition for Reproductive Freedom

Read our Letter Urging Our CA Congressional Delegation to Oppose Any Repeal here. 

 

California Takes a Stand: Over 25 Reproductive Health and Rights Advocates OPPOSE Any ACA Repeal

The California Coalition for Reproductive Freedom (CCRF) has delivered a direct message to the California Congressional Delegation to express our strong opposition to current federal efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA), which will threaten reproductive health access and reverse the progress our state has made in expanding health coverage and consumer protections.

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

July 13, 2017                                                    Contact: Juana Rosa Cavero, Executive Director, California Coalition for Reproductive Freedom 

California’s Statewide Coalition of Reproductive Freedom Advocates Oppose Affordable Care Act Repeal Efforts That Jeopardize Reproductive Health, Rights & Justice 

Los Angeles – The California Coalition for Reproductive Freedom (CCRF) has delivered a direct message to the California Congressional Delegation to express our strong opposition to current federal efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA), which will threaten reproductive health access and reverse the progress our state has made in expanding health coverage and consumer protections.

Over 50% of California’s Medi-Cal recipients are women. Medi-Cal finances half of all births in the state, and over 80% of the state’s publicly funded family planning services. Current proposals to cut federal funding to Medicaid would jeopardize the health and financial security of millions of Californians, and over time would likely force the state to eliminate or curtail access to comprehensive reproductive health services.

In California, the nearly­ 4 million people enrolled in Medi-Cal Expansion would lose their coverage, and millions more would lose access to the protections afforded by the ACA that helped keep their health coverage costs low and ensured their access to critical health services.

Moreover, if we consider what communities will be most impacted, people of color represent 68% of Medi-Cal enrollees. The proposed federal cuts to the Medicaid program threaten the economic security of these Medi-Cal enrollees, and would further complicate already existing health disparities in critical areas such as maternal morbidity and mortality.

The reality for these families and to the state means a loss of comprehensive reproductive health care, such as maternity care, infant neo-natal care, family planning and abortion care. And as stated in CCRF’s letter to our Congress members, making prior pregnancies, cancer treatment and C-sections a pre-existing condition will further burden California families.

CCRF stands in solidarity with advocates across the state to protect health care and ensure that reproductive health and freedoms are not taken away from Californians.

For more information and links to resources to defend the ACA and reproductive freedom, visit our website here.

View letter ccrf_acarepealoppose_signon-final_logos

The California Coalition for Reproductive Freedom is a statewide alliance of nearly 40 organizations reflecting a multitude of constituencies and approaches, including medical, legal, grassroots, faith-based, consumer advocacy, and community-based organization working to maximize policy impact in women’s health and reproductive rights.