Ryan Budget Again Threatens Women's Economic Security
Statement by NOW President Terry O'Neill
March 21, 2012
If anyone doubted the existence of a war on women, the 2013 budget plan announced by House Budget Committee Chair Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) on March 20 is proof positive. Programs critically important to tens of millions of middle- and low-income women would all fall under the ax if Ryan and his ultra-conservative pals have their way.
To pay for more tax cuts for corporations and the wealthiest, the new Ryan budget once again takes aim at Medicare, Medicaid and a range of social programs that disproportionately serve and employ women. It would convert food stamps and Medicaid to block grant programs, and partially privatize Medicare by means of a "premium support" scheme designed to push people out of traditional fee-for-service coverage and into for-profit insurers' plans. We have already seen that the privatized Medicare Advantage plans the Republicans pushed through under George W. Bush increased costs by 12 percent over traditional fee-for-service Medicare. The Ryan plan would only make matters worse.
The Ryan budget would also dismantle the Affordable Care Act, allowing insurers to go back to charging women more than men for the same health coverage and even refusing coverage altogether based on "pre-existing conditions" -- a scam that has resulted in women paying for insurance but still being denied prenatal care and other services. Once again, millions of middle-class families would be just one major health need away from extreme economic hardship.
The reality is, this take-from-middle-class-families-to-give-to-the-wealthy budget has no more chance of becoming law than the similar 2012 effort did. NOW is calling on its members and all social justice advocates to contact members of the House and Senate with this message: Pass a budget that puts women and men back to work, requires corporations and the wealthiest to start paying their fair share in taxes, and improves the safety net for those hurt the most by economic failures they didn't create and don't control.
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