“Coming from marginalized communities, we are very clear on the fact that there’s a set of rules for the Republicans and there’s a set of rules for the Democrats,” mentioned Rebecca Cokley, director of the Disability Justice Initiative on the Center for American Progress. “But there’s also a set of rules for those in power. And then there [are rules] the rest of us have to play by.”
When requested concerning the stakes within the battle across the Supreme Court, Cokley named the ACA as her major concern. “Many times when people think about the disability community and the Affordable Care Act, all they think about are preexisting condition protections,” mentioned Cokley. “But the ACA is so much more than that.” Cokley defined that the protections for preexisting situations present disabled individuals with better flexibility by way of their job choices. Students who obtain particular training providers by age 22 stay on their mum or dad’s insurance coverage due to the ACA.
“It means having the opportunity to go to college and have the expectation of insurance,” mentioned Cokley. Cokley notes the ACA may alleviate the burden of an individual feeling like they’ve to remain in a doubtlessly abusive or unhealthy relationship with a caregiver or important different as a result of their insurance coverage is tied to a different individual.
The ACA is just not with out its points, however invalidating the regulation with no viable different to switch it could put many individuals in dire positions. With an ongoing pandemic and deepening recession, the ACA has supplied a stop-gap for many who misplaced insurance coverage attributable to layoffs. Writing for Kaiser Health News, Steven Findlay pointed to the protection supplied by the ACA at this second. Citing well being coverage consultants and insurers, Findlay wrote that absent further congressional help, the nation might see extra individuals turning into newly uninsured. Findlay additionally famous that insurance coverage protection supplied by the ACA had already been in decline since 2016 attributable to efforts taken by the present administration and a few Republican-controlled states.
In the center of disaster and widespread uncertainty, the president of the United States, members of his administration, and members of his occasion are calling for the top to a regulation that gives entry to well being look after tens of millions of individuals and protections for tens of millions extra. While the president and congressional Republicans didn’t “repeal and replace,” they haven’t put forth a transparent different if the ACA is struck down.
At numerous factors, the ideological debate unfolding from the president’s choice of nominee to the nominee’s specific beliefs and priorities treats marginalized communities as a secondary concern.
“Judge Coney Barrett’s nomination also threatens people’s ability to make decisions about their bodies and lives, putting Roe v Wade and reproductive rights at risk,” mentioned Emily Stewart, government director of Community Catalyst, in an announcement. “There is no question that Judge Coney Barrett’s nomination undermines efforts to advance equity in all areas of our society.” Stewart additional mentioned the nomination of Coney Barrett would undermine the well being and well-being of tens of millions who depend on the ACA.
Cokley echoed the priority round reproductive rights and reproductive justice. “For the disability community writ large, what matters to us is that notion of bodily autonomy, which is a core function of the reproductive justice movement,” mentioned Cokley. “You have the right to decide what happens to your body.”
For Cokley, discussing the ACA, reproductive rights, and extra broadly reproductive justice opens up a lane for discussing further issues impacting the incapacity neighborhood, similar to disabled mother and father and little one custody. Although made illegal many years in the past by Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act, discrimination towards disabled mother and father continues by state companies and the courts.
“In 20 states, you can still lose custody of your child solely on the basis of any diagnosis of disability of a parent,” Cokley mentioned. “And we know that it disproportionately impacts Black women with mental illness. We know that it impacts people who literally have lost their kids, because they went to grief counseling for the loss of a parent.”
To some advocating for the ACA, reproductive rights and justice, and incapacity justice could appear to be distinct lanes for organizing. But Cokley stresses the necessity for the inclusion of a incapacity justice lens in advocacy work round these points if advocates are to work successfully and functionally. “There is no movement across a marginalized community that is not disproportionately disabled, because trauma is a disability,” mentioned Cokley. As the combat to save lots of the ACA ramps up, there must be area for speaking about incapacity, psychological well being, and psychological well-being with out penalizing others.
“It is what we’re all living with,” mentioned Cokley. “And trauma must be centered in such a way that people don’t see the level of respect others have for them diminish because they’re dealing with real life right now.”
Anoa Changa is Prism’s electoral justice workers reporter. Follow her on Twitter @thewaywithanoa.
Prism is a BIPOC-led nonprofit information outlet that facilities the individuals, locations and points presently underreported by our nationwide media. Through our unique reporting, evaluation, and commentary, we problem dominant, poisonous narratives perpetuated by the mainstream press and work to construct a full and correct report of what’s taking place in our democracy. Follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.