Early this morning, Republicans in the Senate took the first step in repealing the Affordable Care Act by approving a budget blueprint that would allow them to dismantle the health care law without the risk of a filibuster by Democrats, according to the New York Times. If all goes according to their plan, ACA would be dismantled by January 27, just a week after President-elect Donald Trump’s inauguration. Yes, this is definitely a cause for concern for everyone, but especially parents and kids.
Before the vote, Democrats took to the Senate floor to raise issues regarding repealing the health care law, which is projected to cover a record-breaking 11 million Americans in 2017. That’s a lot of people–and definitely not something to trivialize. Washington Senator Maria Cantwell said that Republicans were “stealing health care from Americans,” while New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand admantly defended the ways women benefit from the health care law–and would suffer if it was taken away, stating:
“[The Affordable Care Act] said to women of America, You can’t be charged more just because you’re a woman. It said, You can’t be dropped coverage when you become pregnant. Imagine becoming pregnant and having your insurer drop coverage because you are no longer economic, or you cost too much money. Imagine being a cancer survivor and then having your coverage dropped because you survived cancer, and you cost too much money.”
Gillibrand was referencing policies within Obamacare that currently prevent health insurance companies from overcharging women for the same policies as men–and prevent insurance companies from hiking up rates for new moms and breast cancer survivors. She also noted how the policy requires all employers to provide contraceptive coverage to female employees–which is estimated to provide free birth control to more than 55 million American women.
Kirsten Gillibrand’s fierce defense of contraception coverage and other women’s health protections under Obamacare. pic.twitter.com/Hfm5X6euWN
— Dan Diamond (@ddiamond) January 12, 2017
She went on to say:
“We made sure contraception, preventive care service, health care screenings, mammograms were affordable and accessible, and if we take that away, these families are left without the basic care they need to survive. So if you love women, and you love your mothers, and daughters, and wives — please do not unwind the Affordable Care Act. We need women’s health protected, and that’s what this amendment does.”
The Times also reported that the legislation approved by the Senate will essentially pave the way for more bills to be used to take away many significant parts of the ACA–meaning that coverage for families will either diminish, or worse, be non-existent. This is serious, as everyone deserves healthcare–healthcare should not be a privilege for the rich (and for men), but a right for everyone. Women and people with pre-existing medical conditions shouldn’t be considered liabilities.
It seems, for whatever reason, the Republican lawmakers don’t value the health of all U.S. citizens, just the ones they consider more important–and apparently that isn’t women, children, families, or individuals who happen to not receive health care through their employer (which, spoiler, isn’t their fault).