Trumpcare is a bad deal for women

We could have guessed the “Trumpcare” replacement to Obamacare–née the Affordable Care Act, for the 1/3 of Americans still unclear they’re the same–wouldn’t be good for women, the poor, or those with pre-existing conditions. Today we have an idea just how bad the damage.

The new plan will keep popular elements, like a ban against discriminating against pre-existing conditions, and letting kids stay on their parents’ insurance until age 26. But other key protections are gone, as is the penalty for failing to opt in. They’ll spin this as creating more “choice” for the American consumer and for individual states.

This L.A. times article breaks it down:

As of Dec. 31, 2019, ACA rules that required qualified health plans to provide hospitalization, maternity care, mental health services and other benefits would be sunsetted at the federal level. States would have the authority to set them instead. The impact on private, non-Medicaid plans would therefore vary by state. If a state removes maternity benefits, for example, that’s likely to make maternity coverage, among other services, immensely expensive, if available at all.

A tax on women

So what if I’m a healthy 27-year-old man and I don’t want coverage for maternity care? What if my state doesn’t mandate mental health coverage? That’s fine if you’re healthy or you can’t get pregnant. But if you’re living in the wrong state, it could mean way higher premiums for opting into higher risk pools.

So I hope you plan well in advance for that pregnancy–which carries an average cost of around $9,000 in the U.S. And I hope you’re willing to pay more for the possibility. This could be quite a burden for couples who try for more than a year to get pregnant–that’s a lot  of maternity coverage “just in case.”

And if you’re a woman who knows you DON’T want to get pregnant? Good luck with access to preventative family planning resources, as Repubs continue to threaten Planned Parenthood. This week Trump issued an ultimatum to PP to completely eradicate abortion services. Nevermind that abortions are a critical component of comprehensive family planning services for women, and are never paid by federal funds anyways.

Also on the subject of abortion, another lowlight of the AHCA covered in Fox News’ “highlights”:

Prohibits use of tax credits to purchase any plan that covers elective abortions. Currently if a health plan covers abortions it must collect a separate premium to pay for such procedures.

Yet another roadblock for women taking control of their health. Abortion coverage under Obamacare currently varies depending on the state, but plans in progressive states tend to cover the service. In the UK and other developed nations, abortion is covered by national health plans as a matter of course.

‘Trumpcare’ is a big step backwards

We already know that America has the worst record for maternal health of any developed nation. It’s tragic, but not surprising, that the GOP would propose a plan to let this gap widen. We need to be directing resources and policies to fix the problem for our mothers and children–not just redirecting money to benefit the already-privileged. The new AHCA and threats to Planned Parenthood just show how little regard Republicans have for the lives of actual women in America.

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