How the Republican Healthcare Agenda Will Affect Black Women


By Victor Trammell

The apparent hysteria in Washington D.C. surrounding a current Republican political narrative, which is centered on repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act (aka ObamaCare) has many people in the nation on edge, to say the least.

However, a new report from the National Black Women’s Reproductive Justice Agenda (BWJA) gives strenuous credence to the belief that members of the Trump Administration and their Republican friends who lead the U.S. Congress pose a threat to the health of black women.

The BWJA is a five-strong coalition that contains a network of well-coordinated organizations led by black women. Black Women For Wellness, The Black Women’s Health Imperative, New Voices Pittsburgh, SisterLove, Inc. and SPARK Reproductive Justice Now are the names of these groups.

The BWJA study is titled Our Bodies, Our Lives, Our Voices: The State of Black Women and Reproductive Justice. In mid-2016, BWJA researchers began conducting their study during a time when the American public was watching last summer’s spectacle of the U.S. presidential campaign.

During the previous presidential administration, black women were one of the demographic groups who could be considered beneficiaries of the Obama-era healthcare policies that were implemented beforehand.

“Under [ObamaCare], the[BWJA] report found more black women were able to access to health care, including preventive screenings and treatment for chronic illnesses such as diabetes, HIV and hypertension,” wrote Nicole Lewis a columnist for the Washington Post.

However, if the far-right Republicans in the White House, U.S. House and U.S. Senate have their way, all of the fringe benefits in healthcare previously enjoyed by low-income black women may likely disappear.

“The [BWJA] report notes that some of the biggest threats to black women’s health care under the new [Republican healthcare] bill are cuts to federally funded family planning service providers such as Planned Parenthood, reductions in Medicaid coverage and the removal of maternal health as a no-cost essential health benefit,” Lewis also wrote.

The BWJA study also found that over four million people in America obtain services from family planning initiatives that receive federal dollars. Over 90 percent of those people are women. Black women make up 20 percent of the women who rely on such services.

In the BWJA report’s conclusion, study authors suggest that registered voters in America must be well-informed and duly engaged if a genuine difference is to be made. This work goes beyond casting a ballot on election day.

“To make real policy change requires an engaged electorate that is committed to improving the lives of Black women and girls everywhere,” the study authors wrote.

To read the full report on the BWJA’s study, visit the link to the first research source given for this article below.

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