On behalf of the one in three American women who will be a victim of domestic or sexual violence, we strongly oppose efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) individual mandate in the Senate tax bill. The Congressional Budget Office reports that repealing the requirement that Americans have health insurance would result in 13 million Americans losing coverage, and an overall increase in healthcare premiums.
The ACA offers protections for pre-existing conditions, allows for coverage on a parent’s plan until age 26, and includes essential health care benefits. According to the CDC, over 1.7 million survivors reported needing medical care as a direct result of abuse and over 5.3 million experienced mental health conditions. For many survivors of intimate partner violence, access to affordable healthcare is vital to heal from abuse. Repealing the mandate would prevent many of the most economically vulnerable from receiving care. We should be working to make our health care system more affordable and accessible, not rolling back progress to cut taxes for the wealthiest Americans who already have access to health care and other basic services.
It is reprehensible that Congress would jeopardize healthcare for millions of American to pay for tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans and corporations. Victims of domestic and sexual violence are more likely to be low and middle-income – often as a result of victimization --- and more likely to need health care in the short and long-term. Health insurance offers peace of mind and access to critical services. Without insurance, many will forgo care entirely, and their children, who also often need health care, may also go without care.
We urge the Senate to reject the tax bill and instead focus on stabilizing the health insurance market and seek solutions that ensure victims of violence and trauma have access to affordable and meaningful insurance.