The Womxn Project is a statewide organization focused on leveraging the power of art, activism, advocacy and education to advance the principles of reproductive justice, which demands that we all have the right to determine when and how we build our relationships, families and futures and that we have the ability to live and raise our children with dignity.
We are proud to submit testimony in support of H. 7183, which ensures important health insurance protections currently offered under the federal Affordable Care Act are included in our state laws. This means no matter what happens at the federal level that in our state we work to eliminate barriers to care to build strong, healthy, empowered families and communities.
Before the ACA, premature babies who needed extensive care or people with limb loss who needed prosthetics to be replaced as they grew, folks who faced cancer and required multiple surgeries and drug treatment over the course of a year – and so many others – faced caps on the care they could get to save their lives and thrive. Maximum annual and lifetime caps didn’t just threaten people’s health and safety, but could also cause great harm by forcing families into medical debt. No one should have to choose between their life and being trapped in a cycle of poverty.
Lifetime limits used to be included in a majority of plans. A study in 2009 found that 55 percent of Americans using employer-sponsored coverage were enrolled in health plans that capped medical benefits. At that time, it was estimated there were 20,000 to 25,000 Americans who had maxed out their allotted medical benefits. These were typically people with chronic conditions that required expensive drugs or people who suffered through traumatic medical events. The vast majority of Americans who had lifetime limits had no idea until their coverage was denied.
Can you imagine facing a health disaster or family emergency and in the middle of it all being told that in spite of paying into your insurance or working hard to earn your employer sponsored care that you don’t get coverage for the services you need? It was unconscionable and that is why these important protections were included in the ACA. We have the chance to make sure regardless of administration or who is in Congress that in our state we keep these protections in place.
Healthcare is a human right. The right to health for all people means that everyone should have access to the health services they need, when and where they need them, without suffering financial hardship. No one should get sick and die just because they are poor, or because they cannot access the health services they need. This bill is an important step towards achieving that goal. We must continue to do all we can to eliminate barriers to the services we need to get and stay health, to manage our bodies, to care for our families, and to plan for our futures.
We urge your support of this important legislation.
Thank you for your consideration.
Contact: Jocelyn Foye, 401-400-0061, [email protected]