The Affordable Care Act (ACA) has helped millions of Americans, especially transgender Americans, get the health care they need. On May 4, the House voted to gut many of the ACA’s key protections by passing the American Health Care Act (AHCA) — a bill that poses a terrible threat to transgender people all across the country — particularly those who have low incomes, are disabled, or are people of color. The AHCA still needs to go through the Senate before it becomes law, meaning that this fight isn’t over. Here’s what you need to know about how the AHCA and its impact on transgender people.
- Takes away health insurance from 24 million Americans: It’s estimated that by 2026, one in five Americans will be uninsured if the AHCA passes. That’s likely to hit transgender people, who have been and continue to be more likely than others to be uninsured, especially hard.
- Skyrocketing rates for the people who need care the most: · The AHCA would take us back to the days when insurance companies could charge people with preexisting conditions more, meaning that people with preexisting conditions — including gender dysphoria, HIV, depression, and a history of sexual assault or domestic violence — could pay premiums many times higher than present.
- Paying more for less coverage: Under the AHCA, states can get waivers that would let insurers refuse to cover even the most essential services, like doctors, hospitals, prescriptions, mental health care, lab tests, and more.
- A brutal attack on Planned Parenthood: This bill aims to shut down Planned Parenthood — one of the nation’s largest providers of hormone therapy and other care for trans people — by blocking most Medicaid subscribers from getting care at their clinics.
- The end of Medicaid as we know it: · The bill will cut a staggering $880 billion from Medicaid over the next ten years, eliminate the ACA’s Medicaid expansion, and impose a completely new funding system that severely limit access to care. The Medicaid expansion — which given access to Medicaid to low-income people who don’t have dependent children or qualifying disabilities (for example, those who have HIV but not AIDS) — has benefited numerous transgender people who could lose their care.
- Decimates subsidies that help people afford coverage: The AHCA slashes the subsidies that have allowed low-income people — which disproportionately includes transgender people — get insurance.
- Nondiscrimination in jeopardy: House leaders didn’t have the votes to repeal nondiscrimination protections, but that doesn’t help if you can’t afford insurance or your insurance company won’t cover the basic care you need. On top of that, the Trump Administration announced on May 2 that it will roll back rules interpreting the law to protect transgender people.
Visit transequality.org for more in-depth resources as the healthcare debate continues.