The Mark UP

Deadly Water and Dashed Coverage: GOP’s Two-sided Attack on Americans’ Health

By Lauren Karpinski

The disastrous Senate “health care” bill, crafted behind closed doors, would result in tens of millions of Americans losing their health insurance. While Trumpcare would limit coverage for those who become sick, the GOP is simultaneously pursuing another bill aimed at making it more likely Americans will get sick in the first place.

We’re calling it the “Risk to America Act” (RAA) because it would dramatically weaken the enforcement of safeguards that give us the peace of mind we expect in America to live free from the danger of contaminated food, polluted waterways and foul air. This NRDC video shows some of the consequences of eliminating these common-sense protections.

The water crisis in Flint, Michigan captures the danger communities, often low-income, face from this two-pronged cynical attack on our health and safety by the RAA and Trumpcare. When Michigan state failed to follow federal guidelines meant to prevent lead pipes from leaching into the drinking water, thousands of Flint residents were exposed to highly toxic levels of lead.

Ten years from now, a Flint toddler who ingested harmful levels of lead could be struggling with a developmental disorder. Under the proposed Trumpcare, in some states this child’s condition could limit their coverage, preclude them from getting Medicaid benefits or hike up their premiums. Barred from the best treatment, a child in this situation — and there could be many — could have trouble finishing school, difficulty finding a job and even have a higher propensity toward crime.

Twice failed by her government, this Flint child is far from alone. There are countless examples of preventable health problems brought on by shamefully weak standards and lax regulations that benefit big corporations.

Trumpcare’s approach to pre-existing conditions could lead to unfathomable obstacles for those who need healthcare the most. The woman who’s had six surgeries to combat her asbestos-induced mesothelioma might not be eligible for quality, affordable health insurance. A mother whose children developed asthma from nearby power plant emissions might not be able to afford lifesaving medications. The construction worker injured on an unsafe job site may never get the physical therapy he needs.

Americans expect tough, fair enforcement of laws meant to protect their families from harm. The only support for weakening enforcement comes from corporate lobbyists. Are members of Congress prepared to sacrifice American families’ way of life in exchange for political support from large and powerful corporations?

The RAA derails the enforcement necessary to ensure the safety of products and conditions in everyday life. Trumpcare undercuts healthcare coverage for millions of vulnerable people. Together, these two assaults by the GOP on Americans’ health and quality of life is shortsighted and immoral, and for many they would create a perfect storm resulting in a lifetime of hardship. That is not “making America great.”

Tell your senators: Fight this two-pronged attack on our health, safety, and way of life. Oppose the RAA and Trumpcare.

Lauren Karpinski is the NRDC Action Fund’s communications intern.