IN THE LOOP
The news you need to know about this week
Welcome to the latest edition of our update on the news you need to know and how it affects you and the communities we serve. Every couple of weeks we send out an e-mail featuring important updates (you can sign up below!). As always, thank you for your support of APLA Health, and please share this with others who may be interested.
Join Us at LA Pride and the Resist March!
Join us the weekend of June 9-11 at LA Pride! Come say hello at either our APLA Health festival booth in West Hollywood Park, or join us on Sunday, June 11, for the Resist March, which will kick off from Hollywood & Highland. You can sign up to join our contigent at www.aplahealth.org/pride. For more information on LA Pride, visit lapride.org.
Keep calling your senators and representatives. Don’t let them off the hook! Toll free: 866.220.0044.
You can also find rallies, town halls, and other events near you at www.resistancenearme.org.
The Republicans Are Targeting Medicaid: Your Life Savings Are in the Bullseye
Republicans in Congress and the White House have their sights set on Medicaid, and you think you won’t be affected because Medicaid is just health insurance for poor people, right? Well, think again.
Republicans want the big bucks in Medicaid so they can fund increases in defense funding, tax cuts for the rich and corporations, and still balance the budget in 10 years. Meanwhile, no one will want Medicaid more than you or your parents if you need skilled nursing, long-term, or even home health care. Because if Medicaid isn’t there for you, you’ll be paying on your own, and prices for nursing home care start at $4,000 a month—at the low end.
The American Health Care Act recently passed by the House and now in the Senate would slash Medicaid by $836 billion, ending the expansion of the program. The Trump Administration’s proposed 2018 budget cuts another $610 billion over the next decade. Medicaid would be reduced by half.
Medicaid currently pays for the bulk of long term care in the U.S.—or about some 62%—followed by the hard-earned bucks and retirement savings of middle- and working-class families. And while Republicans think it’s a good idea to cut Medicaid, the number of Americans over age 65 is set to double in the next 30 years. Guess who will need more nursing home care and who will get stuck with the bill?
We should not let Congress or the Administration destroy this basic health care program just to give the wealthy a tax cut they don’t need. Call your congressman, especially those of you who live in Republican districts. Tell them to keep Medicaid funded.
Trump Budget Slashes Funding for Critical Housing Programs
The Trump Administration’s 2018 budget is a body blow to housing programs that assist people living with HIV (PLWH) across the country. The proposed budget slashes $7.4 billion in funding from HUD programs, a nearly 15% cut. It eliminates the Housing Trust Fund, Community Development Block Grants, and the HOME Program that provide essential supportive services to low-income individuals and families. Another $26 million cut to Housing Opportunities for Persons With AIDS would reduce funding to 2015 levels. And then a 5% cut to Tenant-Based Rental Assistance means that 250,000 households will lose their housing assistance and won’t be able to keep a roof over their heads.
The cuts would be a disaster in Los Angeles, where rental prices have soared and PLWH struggle to find and pay for an affordable place to live, and would undermine L.A.’s efforts to end our homelessness crisis.
Stable housing, including access to supportive services, is one of the most important ways for PLWH to achieve optimal health outcomes, as well as a successful way of preventing HIV transmissions. These cuts to critical housing programs would turn back the clock on years of progress toward ending the HIV epidemic, and demonstrates the Trump Administration’s cruel indifference to millions of low-income, vulnerable people. Many national housing and HIV/AIDS coalitions are urging Congress to reject these proposed budget cuts and maintain support for critical housing programs for low-income families and individuals.
You can do your part, too. While Congress is on recess, tell your representatives to reject the Trump budget.
Trump Sabotages Insurance Markets
“The single most destabilizing factor causing double-digit premium increases for 2018.” That’s how the American Medical Association, American Hospital Association, and other health care groups describe Trump’s indecision on funding for cost-sharing subsidies in the Affordable Care Act (ACA) that help low-income people afford health insurance.
Last month, we told you about these cost-sharing subsidies, which help lower the cost of co-pays, deductibles, and other out-of-pocket costs for roughly 680,000 Californians who buy insurance through Covered California. The subsidies are the subject of a court battle left over from the Obama Administration. Trump has since inherited the case and must now decide whether to continue funding these cost-sharing reduction payments.
Last week, the Trump Administration asked for a 90-day extension on the court proceedings, a move that has only increased fears that the cost-sharing subsidies won’t be funded in order to force Democrats to negotiate on a replacement for the ACA. Health care groups recently wrote a letter to congressional leaders stating that there’s now “clear evidence that this uncertainty is undermining the individual insurance market for 2018 and stands to negatively impact millions of people.”
California’s attorney general, Xavier Becerra, and other state attorneys general are hoping to intervene in the case. On May 18 they filed a motion that would allow them to directly defend the part of ACA that permits these cost-sharing subsidies. The attorneys general argue that “the president has increasingly made clear that he views decisions about providing access to health insurance for millions of Americans—including the decision whether to continue defending this appeal—as little more than political bargaining chips. The states and their residents cannot continue to rely on the Executive Branch to represent them in this appeal.”
Stay in the loop!
We will send you regular updates on issues and policies affecting the LGBT and/or HIV communities and urge you to call or e-mail your representatives about key political activity at the local, state, and federal levels.