Parents: 5 Things You Need to Know About the New Republican Health Care Bill

Nothing matters more to me than my kids’ health. So I’ve been digging into how the Republicans’ new health care bill (the one that was kept secret until last Thursday) will affect families like mine. Short answer: yikes.

Here are five big changes all families need to know about:

1. Maternity Care
Giving birth could get a lot more expensive. Right now, insurance has to cover prenatal care and maternity coverage. This bill would end that guarantee–even though giving birth can easily lead to $10,000 or more in medical bills.

2. Health Coverage for Kids
If you had to guess, what percentage of young kids do you think have healthcare coverage?
The answer is an astounding 95%. It’s a lot higher than it used to be, thanks in part to Medicaid covering almost 40% of all children. But this bill cuts $800 billion (with a “b”!) from Medicaid. This will likely mean fewer kids with coverage and/or cuts to what’s covered.

3. Kids With Special Needs
Are there kids in your life with special needs? My kids’ school does an amazing job supporting special needs children–thanks to Medicaid. Medicaid covers 60% of all children with disabilities (including many of their school services). So those cuts will hit kids with disabilities especially hard.

4. Mental Illness and Addiction
Watching someone you love struggle with mental illness can be painful–but when that person wants treatment and can’t get it, it’s unbearable. Obamacare guaranteed a minimum level of mental health coverage, and addiction treatment if needed. This new bill would end that guarantee.

5. The Kicker
Want to know what *really* makes me angry? This bill also gives billions in tax breaks to the rich. In other words, it’s cutting health care for low-income and disabled children and pregnant women in order to give handouts to millionaires. Even my preschooler can understand: That’s just plain wrong.

Spread the word
Like a 5 year-old who accidentally got served two pieces of cake at a birthday party, the Republican strategy is to not attract attention until it’s too late. They tried to rush a vote through this week. That didn’t work, so now they’re cutting deals and working overtime to round up more support. The best thing we can do is spread the word about how damaging the bill is.

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