Repealing Obamacare Will Disproportionally Harm Black People and People of Color

by Gerald Hankerson

Editors’ Note: This article was originally published on 06/01/2017. It was republished on 01/17/2022 with a new featured image.

While the debate continues over repealing the signature law of America’s First Black President, The Affordable Care Act (ACA), the largest beneficiaries of Obamacare are once again being neglected and are poised to become the biggest political casualties under Trumpcare – namely black people and other people of color.

So far the political debate has been based solely around numbers: The Congressional Budget Office estimated that 23 million people will lose their health care coverage under Trumpcare, but when “unmasking” the identity of those who would lose the most coverage under the plan, a large percentage are Blacks and people of color.

According to Washington Community Action Network’s demographic report on King County’s health data for communities of color, more than half of those who pose the highest risk for heart disease, stroke, diabetes, asthma, and colon cancer are blacks and people of color.

Blacks maintain the highest unemployment rate in King County. Trumpcare targets precisely these populations for the elimination health care. In our state and across the country people of color will be forced into medical debt, which is the biggest barrier for wealth in communities of color.

Ardell Shaw, a 42 year old limo driver in Seattle has suffered from diabetes for over 10 years. Under Obamacare, his health care coverage allows him to visit his doctor as much as needed to maintain a low sugar level and continue treatment to battle the deadly disease.

It also lets Ardell maintain his living wage job, which requires good health in order to drive. “Without health coverage, the cost of my medication alone would absorb over half my paycheck, leaving little left to afford things like rent, food and utilities,” he told me.

Keesha Williams, a 41 year old single mother of a 15 year old Bennie who’s battling Crones disease and requires extensive treatment and expensive medication to manage his pain and long term treatment.

Each month, Bennie visits Swedish Medical Center to receive infusions necessary to treat his illness. “If it wasn’t for Obamacare, there’s no way I can afford the $5700 it costs for each infusion to save my son’s life”, says Keshena

Their stories are only two of countless examples of the impact repealing Obamacare would have on Blacks and people of color. The most vulnerable will lose health care coverage under Trumpcare and the racial implications of this terrible idea need to be broadcast widely so everyone understands what these folks are doing to us.

Gerald Hankerson is the policy director of Washington Community Action Network and the President of the NAACP of King County

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