Assuming that you don't live under a rock, you have likely heard about the infamous American #healthcare Act, the bill which the GOP semi-proudly revealed as their proposed replacement for the Affordable Care Act following seven years of complaints and what seems to be one month of scrambling to come up with an alternative.
The bill was bizarrely unifying in it nonpartisan unpopularity, being dubbed "dead on arrival" by politicians and pundits from Fox News all the way to MSNBC. Even Breitbart, unofficial media darling of the White House, plastered their site's front page with less-than-favorable coverage of the plan.
With the right criticizing the bill for not repealing enough of the ACA and the left criticizing it for scrapping too much, this may be the first time in recorded history that republican senators were as quick to shoot down a conservative healthcare plan as Bernie Sanders. The CBO revealing that the bill would result in 24 million people losing their health insurance over the next decade (millions more than were insured by Obamacare in the first place) may have delivered a serious blow, but it's not over yet.
Cuts for mental illness and addiction coverage
One of the more controversial aspects of the GOP's new healthcare plan is how it handles those reliant on psychiatric healthcare. If passed, "Trumpcare" would roll back the mandate that requires Medicaid (a program specifically designed for low-income citizens) to cover treatment for #Mental illness and addiction.
This would potentially revoke the health insurance of millions of people affected by mental illness, and would specifically hit hardest in states that have been devastated by the heroin epidemic, such as Ohio, West Virginia, and Kentucky. Impoverished communities would be extremely disproportionately disadvantaged when suddenly left with the burden of covering inflated treatment costs for the already higher numbers of those affected by mental illness and addiction in these areas, all while the wealthiest American enjoyed a sizable tax cut.
Other changes for those living with mental illness
The potential loss of healthcare is not the only way in which the mentally ill have been singled out under the new administration. In late February, #trump signed the repeal of an Obama-era law designed to prevent the sale of guns to Social Security recipients who had been deemed too mentally ill to manage their finances. The law had initially been written in an effort to strengthen background checks following the 2012 Sandy Hook Massacre.
The law- which had previously restricted the sale of firearms to roughly 75,000 mentally ill people- also impacted primarily low-income communities, as it focused on those who struggled to manage their finances and were reliant on Social Security. While its repeal may do very little impact wealthier areas, low-income communities could see a spike in rates of suicide, murder, theft, drug trafficking, and other crimes associated with gun availability.
The looser gun laws specifically targeted at low-income, mentally ill individuals combined with the loss of healthcare for that same group could have sickening impacts on the American system as a whole. While it may primarily be poor communities taking the hit at first, endangering our most at-risk citizens all so firearm manufacturers, pharmaceutical companies, and the wealthy could enjoy profits and tax cuts would inevitably contribute to the thinning out of the middle class as taxpayers were forced to pick up the slack.
Cutting healthcare to those most in need while simultaneously singling them out as a new market for weapon distribution is a shameless example of the elite preying on the vulnerable to make a buck. Ironically, this greed doesn't appear to see party lines. Communities who overwhelmingly voted republican in the last election, such those in the Midwest who are currently being overwhelmed by opiate abuse, are the ones who would see their faith most betrayed in the end.