Days after the U.S. House held a surprise vote on the Trumpcare health care bill, Rep. Jacky Rosen (D-Henderson) held an event with advocates for domestic violence and sexual assault survivors to condemn Trumpcare’s proposed cuts to women’s health care.
Rep. Rosen and survivor advocates gathered Tuesday at the Nevada Coalition to End Domestic and Sexual Violence office near Henderson to discuss the ramifications of the American Health Care Act (also known as AHCA or Trumpcare) and its effect on Nevada women.
When I asked Rosen about the vetting of the AHCA, she explained how there was almost none. “No one was able to get it. We found out the night before. There was no [Congressional Budget Office] score. What’s really in there? That’s not the way to do things.”
Nevada Coalition to End Domestic and Sexual Violence Executive Director Sue Meuschke concurred. “We don’t know what’s all in there.” From what she does know of the bill, she’s particularly concerned about provisions that could result in denial of coverage to many of the most vulnerable Nevadans.
“The potential for waiver concerns us. The inclusion of preventive services, including for victims of domestic violence, is critical. We don’t need to be taken back.” – Sue Meuschke
Rape Crisis Center Executive Director Daniele Dreitzer went into further detail on how another provision of Trumpcare could adversely affect many Nevadans. “What concerns us the most is mental health parity. Survivors don’t seek services until after the incident occurs. Affordable, accessible mental health services are vital for survivors.”
Dreitzer continued to explain the importance of proper mental health care to victims of sexual assault. “People need consistent access to mental and physical health care services. There is no end to the psychological effects.”
Dreitzer also touched on AHCA’s lack of protections for Americans with pre-existing conditions… Including victims of domestic violence and sexual assault.
“Sexual assault is considered a pre-existing condition, which is problematic for a wide variety of reasons. It’s the ultimate form of victim blaming.” – Daniele Dreitzer
Rep. Jacky Rosen also voiced outrage over AHCA’s threats to people deemed with pre-existing conditions. “I haven’t talked with someone who doesn’t want pre-existing conditions covered. […] At the end of the day, we all have something that can be considered pre-existing conditions.”
I also asked Rosen about other parts of Trumpcare that could affect Nevada. “I wish I could offer Sandoval and the Legislature reassurance, but we’ll have to see what the Senate sends back to the House.” The bill includes over $1 billion worth of Medicaid cuts to Nevada and cuts to other health care programs the state is relying upon to balance the budget and provide health care services to residents.
That led to another major question: Why did Rep. Mark Amodei (R-Carson City) switch sides and vote to pass AHCA? Rosen was also surprised by his move.
[Amodei’s] been talking with Governor Brian Sandoval [R]. Mend it, don’t end it. It’s worked here in Nevada. – Rep. Jacky Rosen
I asked Rosen and Meuschke how the Senate can do better on health care. They both called for more transparency and more public input. After Rosen referred to AHCA as a “convoluted mess”, she called upon U.S. Senators Catherine Cortez Masto (D) and Dean Heller (R) to do a better job of looking out for Nevada. “My hope is that the Senate does a better job of protecting people with pre-existing conditions, protect people in need of Medicaid.”
Meuschke had another specific recommendation. “Listen to their constituents. Hold town hall meetings. Find out what they can do better.” Senator Dean Heller held his first public town hall in Reno last month, but has not since committed to holding a public event in Southern Nevada.
It’s unclear yet what exactly Senate Republicans will include in their version of Trumpcare. Until then, health care policy experts, key state decision makers, and community advocates will probably continue trying to make sense of the “convoluted mess” the U.S. House just dumped upon the nation.