Last year’s emergency Zika funding is about to run out and there’s no new money in the pipeline. It’s emblematic of the kind of short-term, reactive policymaking that public health officials have been warning us about for years. Now, as we head into summer, public health again faces a dangerous, highly complex threat along with an enormous funding gap.
When you ask public health advocates about President Trump’s recent budget proposal, you typically get a bewildered pause. Public health people don’t like to exaggerate — they follow the science, they stay calm, they face off against dangerous threats on a regular basis. Exaggerating doesn’t help contain diseases, it only makes it harder. So it’s concerning when you hear words like this about Trump’s budget: “devastating,” “not serious,” “ludicrous,” “unfathomable.”
To the surprise of literally no one, President Trump’s 2018 budget proposed stripping all federal funds, including Medicaid dollars, from Planned Parenthood. Proponents of this argue that if Planned Parenthood clinics end up shuttered, women can simply access care elsewhere. But growing research shows that’s the opposite of what actually happens.
More than 8 million U.S. children depend on the Children’s Health Insurance Program for access to timely medical care. The program is authorized through 2019, but its federal funding expires in September and it’s unclear what Congress will do.
There was always an assumption that the Affordable Care Act would need time to find its sea legs. That’s why it included measures to shield insurers from the potential profit losses that inherently come with offering millions more people better health coverage at more reasonable prices. Insurers operate on profit margins and the ACA took that into account, for better or for worse.
Public health is in trouble.
Yesterday, House Republicans failed to find enough votes to pass their Affordable Care Act replacement. It was a very good day for the millions of Americans projected to lose their coverage under the GOP plan. But let’s be clear: Obamacare is not safe.
Recent pieces address US healthcare, pollution enforcement in Iowa, maternal mortality in Texas, and more.
As the Republicans push forward their abysmal Affordable Care Act replacement, much of the talk surrounding its impact focuses on insurance numbers and premium hikes. Those things are certainly important. But this is more important: The Republican plan will cause unnecessary suffering and preventable death.
We’re just a humble little public health blog. But we can still do our part. If you or someone you know need help getting health insurance coverage before next week’s enrollment deadline on Jan. 31, here are some good resources.