10 questions Congress must answer for me and my cancer patients. Today.
As a nurse who cared for patients with cancer, I know how important affordable, preventive care is for working families. And as a mom whose child needed life-saving heart surgery when he was young, I know what’s it like to fear loss of coverage and to go bankrupt as a result of unaffordable medical bills. This is why I am concerned by extremists in Congress who are rushing to take healthcare away from 30 million Americans, increase our healthcare costs and endanger my patients, my family, and my community.
Before Congress votes to take healthcare away from my patients, they must answer these 10 basic questions about any replacement plan they propose:
Will everyone who has coverage today still have coverage under your bill?
Will this bill make coverage more affordable for people - lowering their premiums, deductibles and out-of-pocket costs - while not taking away any of their current benefits?
Will everyone who currently gets a health insurance tax credit continue to receive the same amount or more so that they not only “have access to coverage” but also can afford it?
Will this bill maintain the current protections for people with pre-existing conditions that are in the current law?
Will this bill guarantee that a woman can’t be charged more than a man for her health insurance simply because she is a woman?
Will insurance companies in all states still be required to cover check-ups for kids, mammograms and birth control without co-pays? Will treatment for mental health and substance abuse disorders, maternity care, and prescription drugs still be covered at the same level?
Will this bill prevent insurance companies from charging people over 55 more than they are today?
Will everyone that is covered today through Medicaid continue to be eligible for the same coverage with the same providers that are available today without paying more?
Will this bill require large companies and other big employers to continue providing health coverage for their employees?
Will this bill protect consumers, rather than cut taxes for pharmaceutical companies and the wealthiest?
Nurses and healthcare workers are committed to fight for our patients, and we will not rest until we see a real plan that answers all these questions and makes healthcare better and more affordable for all Americans.
Cathy Stoddart is a registered nurse in Pittsburgh and member of SEIU Healthcare Pennsylvania.