Urge the Senate
to Protect Health Care Access
The Maryland Coalition Against Sexual Assault (MCASA) joins with our national partner, The National Alliance to End Sexual Violence, in calling to action those who support survivors of sexual violence to urge the Senate to protect health care access. Several ways to take part in this important advocacy are detailed below; please modify materials as needed to best reflect your role in supporting sexual assault survivors. The Senate has just unveiled health care legislation that is unacceptable, and we ask coalitions and local programs to join with advocates from around the country to urge senators to reject that bill and protect access to health care for all. A vote is expected next week. We are recommending 3 immediate actions:
Please send the information below as an email to key Senate staff with whom you have a relationship and/or call your senators' offices directly. Here is a link to our position paper on health care. Feel free to include it with any written communication with Senate staff. Message: On behalf of survivors of sexual assault in the state/city of _______, I urge you to oppose proposed healthcare legislation that fails to protect survivors. Please work to prevent repeal of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and reject the proposal that rolls back Medicaid expansion; allows insurers to charge those with preexisting conditions more for coverage; and scales back required comprehensive preventive health care. The short- and long-term consequences of sexual assault can undermine a person’s health.Survivors need access to a range of services in both the immediate aftermath of sexual violence and over the span of their lives. These services include physical and mental health care to heal from sexual violence and mitigate the many consequences of trauma. From the forensic rape exam, conducted by a trained Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner, to ongoing visits with a primary care physician or counselor—health care is of critical importance to victims of sexual violence. It enables them to cope with the myriad effects of trauma and to thrive in their lives and in our families, workplaces, schools, and larger communities. The recently unveiled Senate legislation and the House-passed American Health Care Act (AHCA) would be a terrible step backward returning us to the days when victims of violence went without the health care they needed because insurers could charge those with preexisting conditions more, making coverage too expensive or inaccessible; when comprehensive preventive health care was not available; when low income survivors could not access health care at all; and when plans failed to cover the behavioral health services survivors need. We urge you to oppose the Senate proposal that takes us backward and makes it more difficult for any survivor of sexual assault to access the health care they need. We also urge you to maintain federal funding for Planned Parenthood which many survivors rely on for services.