Affordable Care Act/Medicaid Expansion

Tell Senators to Reject AHCA

The AHCA, the so-called replacement bill for the Affordable Care Act, passed the U.S. House on May 4 by a 216-211 vote.  The bill slashes $834 billion from Medicaid. This bill would put millions of Americans back at the mercy of insurance companies, subjecting them to skimpy insurance plans, coverage limits, and skyrocketing premiums for seniors and people with pre-existing conditions.

The Congressional Budget Office announced that the AHCA would lead to 23 million Americans losing their insurance.   The American Medical Association, the AARP and the American Cancer Society oppose the bill.

Click here to tell Senator Blunt and Senator McCaskill: Don’t gut health care for Missourians.  Or call Senator Blunt   314-725-4484  and Senator McCaskill  314-367-1364

Health Secretary Says Cost-Sharing and “Essential Benefits” May Change under ACA

In his carefully calibrated testimony before House appropriators, Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price made one thing clear Wednesday: The administration is still intent on dismantling parts of the Affordable Care Act even if Republicans lack the votes to rewrite it.  Under intense questioning from Democrats, Price outlined how his department could make insurance plans cheaper by scaling back several federal mandates, including what the ACA currently defines as “essential benefits” in coverage. And he refused to say whether the administration will keep providing cost-sharing subsidies for insurers participating in the federal marketplace. The multibillion-dollar infusion is critical to maintaining the system’s stability, insurers say.   Read more.

Missouri health-care providers worry as pressure continues to curb Medicaid

“Missouri has among the most restrictive Medicaid programs in the nation, in part, a consequence of the state refusing to expand the program under the Affordable Care Act. And while Republican efforts to repeal and replace the law known as Obamacare fell short last week, health care analysts say pressure on the Medicaid program will continue.”

“If patients start losing Medicaid coverage and more become uninsured, Carron said it would create a ripple effect in his county, causing access problems for patients and financial strain for hospitals and a “hidden tax” on insurers and employers.”     Our state legislators are considering changes to the program which have providers and recipients concerned.

Read the 3/26/2017 Post-Dispatch article here

 

Take the “Keep Our Care” Pledge

President-elect Trump and Congressional leaders have pledged to make changes to health care that could result in millions of Americans losing access. They have repeatedly discussed repealing the Affordable Care Act without a clear plan for replacing it. Some leaders have also said they want to drastically change both Medicaid and Medicare in ways that would be extremely damaging.  Click here to sign the pledge urging lawmakers to preserve access to health care.

Coalition of Groups Wary of Managed Care Expansion

July 18, 2016 Article – read here

Rally For Justice – Jefferson City

 March 17, 2016

FullSizeRender-1 copy 2Women’s Voices members joined others from across the state to tell our legislators to do their job and put the needs of the people over politics.  The Rally for Justice in Jefferson City included members of our partner organizations the Missouri Medicaid Coalition, Jobs With Justice, Missouri Health Care For All, Metropolitan Congregations United and others.

We heard from speakers who talked about the need to put people above politics.  Beth Griffin of Eliot Unitarian Chapel remarked that when we rallied two years ago we gave our legislators a dignity challenge: “Does what you are doing threaten or enhance the dignity of Missourians?”

Two years later, she remarked, the legislature is enshrining discrimination, restricting the right to vote, and ignoring the right to health care.  We heard how our criminal justice system lacks justice, with Blacks accounting for a disproportionate share of those on death row.  Jeannette Mott Oxford of Empower Missouri noted that 1 in 10 students in St. Louis are homeless and that although Missouri ranks 2nd in the number of people who experience hunger our legislature is imposing restrictions on their ability to access social services.

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We marched and chanted on the 3rd floor of the capitol building where our state legislators meet in session.  We rose our voices calling for Medicaid expansion NOW for the 300,000 low income Missourians who earn too much for Medicaid but not enough to purchase insurance on the health care exchange.

Where were our senators? They adjourned early and left for spring break. But we vowed to keep coming back and raising our voices for the people.

Photo:  Women’s Voices member Bunnie Gronborg and her granddaughter Jade

 

 

Women’s Voices letter to Health & Human Services

Regarding Health Insurance Rate Increases proposed for 2016

August 6, 2015

Missouri is the only state in the country in which the Department of Insurance has no authority over health insurance rates and in which health insurers do not even file their rates.  But under the Affordable Care Act, the federal Department of Health and Human Services is responsible for informing Missourians about health insurance rate increases and for reviewing the rates for Missouri. And this year after the Consumer Council of Missouri filed a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit seeking the Missouri rate filings, HHS revealed the rates for all states in time for consumers to challenge them before they go into effect.

The rates are excessive and Women’s Voices has written a letter to HHS on rate increases asking for a hearing.

UPDATE:  An editorial in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch Thursday, August 27 speaks to this issue.

The ACA Is Here To Stay!   

June 25, 2015

Joyce Borgmeyer, chair of the Women's Voices Health Care Committee

Joyce Borgmeyer, chair of the Women’s Voices Health Care Committee

The Supreme Court ruling maintaining subsidies to offset the cost of health insurance “was a huge win,” according to Robert Gatter, St. Louis University School of Law.  At a celebration of the ruling at Central Reform Congregation June 25, Gatter said that the court did the right thing by interpreting the intent of the statute.   The purpose of having “an exchange established by a state” was to support health insurance markets, not destroy them.   And by allowing consumers who earn 100-400% of poverty to purchase insurance on an exchange, regardless of whether it is run by a state or the federal government, supports health insurance markets.

 

Tom and LaDonna Applebaum

Tom and LaDonna Applebaum

 

LaDonna Applebaum stood with Women’s Voices member Melanie Shouse in front of the office of Representative Lacy Clay advocating for the creation of the Affordable Care Act.  Melanie, under-insured, was diagnosed with stage 4 breast cancer and died in 2010.  But while battling her disease she worked tirelessly for health care for all.   LaDonna said, “Because of Melanie, I am here today.”

LaDonna and her husband Tom purchased insurance on the exchange and received their health card January, 2014.  In June, Tom had an accident requiring surgery on his hand.   In August, LaDonna was diagnosed with breast cancer.   She has completed her chemo therapy and radiation treatments.  And for those who claim she and Tom are “takers”, she says, “We’re not takers; we’re giver backers!”  They hope to earn enough next year to not require a subsidy.

Steven Engelhardt, Communication Director for Representative Lacy Clay, read a statement from the representative.  Rep. Clay said that he is gratified that the essential funding mechanism which has provided insurance for 16 million Americans is now the “settled law of the land.”   Clay encourages us to use this win as an incentive to work with our state legislators to expand Medicaid and stop allowing 5.4 million dollars to be lost each day by refusing the federal funds.  Clay says it is “time for our legislators” to provide the same insurance they receive to the 200,000 Missourians who fall into the coverage gap.