Table Talk: Cuts, Cancellations and Contraception

November 1, 2013

As of today, nearly a million veterans, 22 million children, and 9 million seriously ill and elderly Americans will have their food stamps (otherwise known as SNAP benefits) cut, courtesy of Republicans in Congress. Meanwhile conservatives continue to hound the President over health plan cancellations caused by insurance companies ripping off their customers. Finally, a crazy person appointed to the federal bench by George W. Bush held that using contraception is a “grave moral wrong.” Here are some ideas to help you through the weekend’s family dinners and/or Sunday shows.


Americans know that fighting hunger isn’t just a smart investment in our nation’s future – it’s the right thing to do.
Americans should not be left to starve. Especially those who risked their lives to keep us safe.
Republicans in Congress just took food out of the mouths of veterans, the working poor and children to maintain wasteful subsidies for big corporations. What kind of a person would do such a thing?
Americans who receive SNAP are mostly children, seniors, people with disabilities, and working people. Nearly three out of four are in families with kids.
Programs like food stamps make sure that hungry children are ready to learn at school and that families hit by the recession have enough to eat until they get back on their feet.
The problem is not that we’re helping hungry families and kids, or that people aren’t working. The problem is work doesn’t pay. Greedy executives keep wages low and let taxpayers feed their workforce with food stamps.



The goal of the Affordable Care Act is to get every American good health care they can count on at a rate they can afford.
A lot of individual health care plans don’t actually cover people well, which means if people need care, they can end up going bankrupt – and the rest of us get stuck paying for it.
But the Affordable Care Act, and President Obama, said that even skimpy individual health plans from 2010 would be grandfathered in – as long as the insurers kept the same level of benefits.
Instead, many insurance companies changed their plans to cut people’s benefits even further. Nobody, including President Obama, forced them do this; insurers chose to do it because it was more efficient or profitable for them.
These people’s plans are not the same as they had in 2010. Their benefits have been cut by their insurers. As a result, these plans don’t qualify to be grandfathered.
These canceled plans were scams. If you were kicked off, you were being ripped off.
The good news is that Americans who had their plans canceled will have the opportunity to purchase affordable coverage that will be there when they need it


  • The Affordable Care Act mandated many changes to insurance plans to provide more affordable, comprehensive coverage for all Americans, both to provide better coverage and to reduce uninsured costs that get passed along to everyone. However, the law also allowed insurance companies to “grandfather” existing plans, as long as the plans were in place before March 2010 and still provided all the same coverage they did then.
  • Many insurance companies chose to change individual insurance plans to cut customers’ benefits so they could make more money, even though they knew that would mean these plans would not be grandfathered and would have to be canceled after this year.
  • Insurance companies were allowed to increase premiums and still keep their plans eligible for grandfathering. But unscrupulous insurance companies looking to increase margins often prefer to cut benefits rather than raise premiums, because they find customers are less sensitive to benefit cuts than price hikes. There is also high turnover in the individual insurance market anyway — customers often switch to other plans if they can, or drop if they can’t pay. That means companies make more money if they get as much money as possible from customers right away, rather than building long-term relationships. So many insurers did not go out of their way to keep plans eligible for grandfathering.
  • To keep grandfathered plans active, insurance companies knew all they had to do was: (1) keep the plan active, (2) not cut benefits, (3) offer to extend the plan to adult children up to age 26, (4) end lifetime coverage limits, and (5) not reserve the right to arbitrarily cancel coverage.
    Experts think somewhere between 2% and 4% of Americans are affected by these plan cancellations.


This is the twenty-first century. Most Americans, including married couples with children, choose to use contraception. There is nothing controversial about it.
Unfortunately, under George W. Bush, Republicans packed our federal courts with right-wing judges who put their personal hangups ahead of Americans’ personal freedom.
Today one of those right-wing judges ruled that women should have to ask their employers’ permission to get contraception included in their health plans.
In fact, she referred to using contraception as “a wrongful act,” and referred to the health care law that provides contraception coverage for women as a “grave moral wrong.”
The law says basic health care includes contraceptive care, and if you want to hire someone, there are rules about offering them coverage. Our Constitution does not let people disregard those rules based on personal beliefs. Should someone who works for a Christian Scientist employer not get health coverage because the boss doesn’t believe in modern medicine?

KEY: ● Connect with the audience  |  Make your case | Show how your opponents differ

Category: Budget Women