The small actions of millions on Tuesday will affect your health.
The women and families of Wisconsin cannot underestimate the effects of this election. It will not only affect the formation of national health care policy, but the individuals of this state will experience it on a personal level. The Affordable Care Act (“Obamacare”) will strengthen the health of our nation by stabilizing benefits, granting free preventative care, giving people access to insurance they can actually afford, and not allowing pre-existing conditions to keep millions of deserving Americans from health care.
If you’re under 26 and on your parents’ insurance plan, if you can’t afford to stay on birth control, if you already have children who need immunizations, if you have a mother or grandmother who need a mammogram, or if one day you want to have children – then I promise this election will personally affect you.
Governor Romney has promised to try and repeal the Affordable Care Act if he is elected. He has argued that the Affordable Care Act will cost us billions. But the Congressional Budget Office (a nonpartisan analysis group) has projected that the full implementation of the ACA will make changes and have effects that will actually decrease overall spending by $109 billion in the next decade – not increase the deficit. However, he still plans to change Medicaid to a system that would reduce federal funds – thereby decreasing BadgerCare enrollment and payments to medical providers. According to the Urban Institute, this will only further increase the number of Wisconsin families and children who cannot qualify for or afford insurance; the combination of repealing the Affordable Care Act and changing Medicaid in this way will take away over $20 billion in federal funding from Wisconsin, and reduce BadgerCare enrollment by over 20% in the next decade.
Wisconsin women already spend more than men for the same level of health care. The ACA abolishes this practice of “gender rating” that punishes women for their health care needs. Before the ACA, having had a caesarean section or having been a survivor of domestic violence could make getting insurance impossible. Should people have to risk their health because coverage costs are impossibly high, or because they discover some conditions (such as pregnancy in 87% of plans) are not covered? Do we want to go back to this?
The Affordable Care Act helps Wisconsin women and children in a very real and personal way. Women can access contraception, contraceptive counseling, obtain breastfeeding equipment and counseling services, well-women visits, mammograms, and gestational diabetes and anemia screenings – all without having to pay out of pocket costs. Now, children have access to necessary services like immunizations and vision and hearing screening without cost-sharing and additional payments.
Our health care system is still far from perfect, but ObamaCare will continue to put health care in the hands of millions of men, women, and children if we let it. So Ask, Learn, and Vote. Go out and show politicians that your right to health deserves to stay protected. Then, on Tuesday, November 6, the voices of Wisconsin will be heard.