REPUBLICAN HEALTH LAW THREATENS THOSE WITH DISABILITIES
I’m a retired 1199 member and a person with a disability who is very relieved that the disastrous attempts to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA) are on hold, but we shouldn’t get comfortable. When something is unfair and unjust what do 1199ers do? We fight back! This American Healthcare Reform Act (AHCA) is still a dangerous reality and mostly for our most fragile populations. The AHCA does nothing but harm many, and any benefit will be to the wealthy with a huge tax break. I have multiple sclerosis and autoimmune hepatitis.
Thankfully, I have excellent medical care and good health insurance. I count my blessings. Many people are not so lucky. Thanks to the ACA, 23 million more Americans now have insurance, including millions with disabilities. ACA plans spell out required coverage and cannot turn down people with preexisting conditions. This is a vital protection we cannot lose. We may be breathing a sigh of relief now, but 23 million people are at risk. Republicans attempted to pass a bill created secretly with no input from groups such as doctors, patients, and other providers. Groups including the AARP, the American Medical Association, and the American Hospital Association (AHA) opposed the bill.
The proposed law may be D.O.A., but a new version and budgetary attacks on Medicaid are still a threat. Thirty five percent of Medicaid recipients have a disability. Sixty four percent of Medicaid recipients are nursing home residents. As a former nursing home worker I shudder to think what might happen to my patients. And poor, rural hospitals could also suffer because they rely mostly on Medicaid for reimbursement.
And for those with disabilities the effect of this bill if it passes would be twofold: it guts Medicaid, so we don’t know exactly who will lose services or what type of services will be lost. And many of healthcare jobs may be lost—leaving 1199ers without jobs and the sick without healthcare workers to care for them. As Medicaid cuts take effect, members may lose jobs.
Connect to your Congress member. Check with your organizer and the Union’s social media channels for events and demonstrations and get involved with 1199’s Persons With Disabilities Caucus. We have to keep up the fight.
Eve Sverdlove Shoenthal
Retiree, Yorktown Heights, NY
Editor’s Note: Sister Shoenthal’s letter arrived just before press time and may not reflect the latest news around the ACA. Let’s hear from you. Send your letters to: 1199SEIU’s 1199 Magazine, 330 W. 42nd St, 7th Fl., New York, NY 10036, Attn: Patricia Kenney, Editor; or email them to Patriciak@1199.org. Please put Letters in the subject line of your email.