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WASHINGTON, DC: Ahead of next week’s vote to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA), the Alaska Wilderness League, Sierra Club, League of Conservation Voters, Natural Resources Defense Council, Green Latinos, Green For All, Safe Climate Campaign, Environmental Working Group, Endangered Species Coalition, Earthworks, Center for Biological Diversity, Defenders of Wildlife, Oil Change International, The Climate Reality Project, Clean Water Action, Climate Vote Hawks, and 350.org sent a letter to Senate Majority Leader Mcconnell, Senate Minority Leader Schumer, and House Speaker Ryan and House Minority Leader Pelosi urging support of the Affordable Care Act and Planned Parenthood. This letter follows a letter sent in March ahead of the House vote on the repeal of the Affordable Care Act.
“Despite their attempts to hide it from the American public, it’s no secret that Congressional Republicans and the Trump administration are seeking to roll back vital environmental and health protections that keep our families and communities healthy and safe,” said Kirin Kennedy, the Sierra Club’s Associate Legislative Director. “Pollution isn’t cheap — and the hospital and doctor’s visits, medications, and other health needs that come with breathing dirty air and drinking dirty water add up, and without affordable health care, are extremely difficult to cover. Congressional Republicans and Donald Trump deadly and dangerous attempts to gut environmental standards will only be compounded by this mean-spirited plan to strip healthcare away from millions.”
Preventative health services, covered in the Affordable Care Act and provided by Planned Parenthood, are key to ensuring families have access to safe and healthy environments. Preventive health services and increased access to insurance coverage are critical to promoting public health, especially in the low-income and front line communities that often bear the brunt of environmental pollution.
“Communities across the country are experiencing the devastating health costs of climate change, natural disasters and industrial pollution – with low-income and communities of color bearing the heaviest burden,” said Tiernan Sittenfeld, Senior Vice President of Government Affairs for the League of Conservation Voters. “LCV urges all senators to oppose this disastrous bill to take healthcare away from those who need it most.”
Low-income communities, communities of color and the women who live within them face a greater risk of getting sick, losing their livelihoods, living in poverty, and being displaced by extreme weather events. These communities are also the least likely to have affordable access to the healthcare they need to discover early warning signs of illnesses such as those caused or exacerbated by environmental factors and to get the treatments they need.
“The Republican effort to unravel health insurance will imperil millions of people,” said Scott Slesinger, legislative director for the Natural Resources Defense Council. “And it would be especially harmful to those whose health is already threatened by pollution, many of whom live in impoverished communities.”
Of the government funding Planned Parenthood receives, roughly 75 percent represents Medicaid reimbursements to cover medical services for low-income patients. The rest is for Title X family planning services that are mainly claimed by low-income or minority individuals. Women, especially in low-income communities, rely on access to Planned Parenthood to receive the high quality healthcare they deserve and Planned Parenthood’s services help to improve health outcomes. Living in safe and healthy communities includes the right to quality and affordable patient care. The Affordable Care Act and Planned Parenthood are essential to delivering that care.
The full text of the letter can be found here.