This week, as with many of the weeks in 2017 has generated a lot of news, much of it bad news. First, on Tuesday the White House released President Trump’s proposed budget which intends to balance the federal budget within the next ten years. Unfortunately, this budget is severely flawed in its calculation of how proposed cuts and increases will balance our budget, and it also represents a gross disregard for basic human rights and lifting our most vulnerable out of poverty. We are already all aware of the ongoing battle to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, but the budget released today further confirms that public health and wellbeing are fully under attack.
“This budget represents a gross disregard for basic human rights…”
The budget proposes $4.3 trillion in spending cuts over the next ten years to crucial programs such as Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program ($616B), the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, also known as food stamps) ($190B), and student loan programs for low-income students ($143B), meanwhile the same budget proposes spending increases of $717 billion over the same period of time primarily for discretionary defense spending ($469B) and infrastructure investments ($200B).
Now more than ever it is crucial for us to find ways to bolster the safety net in America and support important programs that protect the environment, support unbiased scientific and medical research, increase access to high quality education and healthcare, and lift Americans out of poverty.
As President Eisenhower said “Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed.” We believe the Trump administration’s proposed budget reflects their core values to increase health and economic disparities in America, making it harder for low-income people of color to live a good life, while making it easier for the wealthy to survive and thrive.
Then, on Wednesday the Congressional Budget Office released its score projecting that by 2026, 23 million people would be left without health insurance should the version of the American Health Care Act (AHCA) that passed in the House pass in the Senate as is. The poor and elderly would be hit the hardest. The bill would reduce the federal deficit by $119 billion; however, it does so by no longer protecting preexisting conditions and harming the health of millions.
“The AHCA would shift almost $6 billion in Medicaid costs to California in 2020.”
Although the CBO does not assess the impacts of the AHCA on individual states, research from many organizations shows that the bill would shift almost $6 billion in Medicaid costs to California in 2020, rising to an annual cost-shift of $24.3 billion by 2027. As a result, our state policymakers may have to repeal the Medi-Cal expansion, eliminating health coverage for nearly 4 million nonelderly adults in addition to risking Medi-Cal coverage and benefits for almost 10 million additional Californians.
Senate Republicans have been meeting to rewrite provisions of the AHCA, however it is uncertain as to whether or not there will be enough votes to repeal and replace in the Senate. We will continue to monitor and provide updates and opportunities for action.
It is crucial to continue the fight in advocating for our communities. Please continue to contact your representatives and voice your concerns, collect stories, and stay engaged. It is tiring, but we must fight on!