If our budgets reflect our priorities, what does Paul Ryan’s budget say about our country, how much we value women and our compassion for the most vulnerable among us? Nothing good, I am afraid.
The Ryan budget that the House of Representatives will vote on tomorrow is driven by misplaced priorities, short-sighted goals, and callous disregard for women and everyone who relies on government programs. It targets close to two-thirds of its cuts to programs that support those with low or moderate incomes, most of whom are women.
The Ryan budget would undermine Medicare’s promise of affordable, quality health care by turning Medicare into a premium support “voucher” program that shifts costs onto beneficiaries, the majority of whom are women who live on less than $22,000 per year.
It would block-grant Medicaid and cut Medicaid funding, endangering health care for millions of women and their children. It would jeopardize care for older women living in nursing homes, putting even greater burdens on family caregivers, most of whom are women. And since Medicaid is the largest source of family planning funds, it would make it harder for millions of women to access the birth control they need.
And the Ryan plan to repeal the Affordable Care Act would cause grave harm to millions of women and their families. Repealing the law would eliminate women’s access to essential preventive services like breast cancer screening, take away young women’s ability to stay on their parents’ health insurance plans until age 26, and eliminate critical protections against gender-based discrimination in insurance coverage and pricing. It would reverse our progress in improving care coordination, which reduces costs for family caregivers and millions of women who suffer from multiple chronic conditions.
The Ryan budget would also devastate nutrition assistance programs, denying millions of families living in or near poverty – many headed by women – the ability to put food on the table. It would put school lunch, child nutrition, job training and child care tax credit programs on the chopping block. It would devastate the safety net.
Rep. Ryan named his budget the “Path to Prosperity,” but it is a path to poverty for millions of women and families. Every representative should vote to defeat this callous budget bill.