May 24, 2017
To the editor: Hello, my name is Hannah and I am a pre-existing condition.
When I was young and invincible, I didn’t worry about insurance (never could afford it, anyways). I’ve always had a job. I worked hard, participated in our community and I paid my taxes — then I got hurt. Then I had a pre-existing condition. I went five years on an injury that required surgery, before the Affordable Care Act gave me the opportunity to afford insurance and get the care I needed. I am so scared for all of us in this state who stand to lose our insurance and our access to Planned Parenthood because of the American Health Care Act.
Because of my economic standing, Planned Parenthood was my only source for medical care from 1998 to 2015 (#ThanksObama). I was able to get annual checkups, health screenings and birth control because Planned Parenthood has federal funding. Despite Sen. Dan Sullivan’s misguided belief to the contrary, community health clinics aren’t always an option when you’re poor but not “poor enough” for Medicaid.
The AHCA, which Congressman Don Young voted for and Sen. Dan Sullivan supports — has language in it to defund all federal reimbursements for Planned Parenthood. Providing health services to those on Medicaid and through Title X grants is a large portion of Planned Parenthood’s revenue. It’s how they help people like me.
Title X is a federal grant program that prioritizes low-income families and uninsured people’s reproductive needs by providing comprehensive family planning and health services, whether or not they’re on Medicaid.
Per Planned Parenthood’s 2014-15 annual report, over 40 percent of their funding comes from federal, state and local funds. In communities like ours, where many patients rely on Medicaid and Title X grants, the necessary health services that Planned Parenthood provides could be taken away from us.
Planned Parenthood treats its patients with compassion and respect, regardless of income. As one of Alaska’s struggling hoi polloi, I wish Rep. Young and Sen. Sullivan cared about my well-being as much as Planned Parenthood has. I’d like to give a shout out to Sen. Lisa Murkowski for at least treating her constituents like we are humans.