After an earlier failed attempt, House Republicans are trying to swiftly pass yet another health care bill that would repeal much of the Affordable Care Act, and replace Obamacare’s flawed but functional system with a new one that would completely change whether people are insured, how insurance works, and how much they pay. The thing is, there’s little information available about those actual changes–which are (gulp) supposed to be voted on today (and it just passed at the House), according to The Washington Post.
The horrifying part of all of this is the fact that a specific amendment in the GOP reform bill allows states to deny coverage for preexisting conditions–and under the amendment, there’s an array of “preexisting conditions” that are really, really discriminatory. For instance, rape, postpartum depression, Cesarean sections, and surviving domestic violence are all considered preexisting conditions. Which is insane.
This is essentially an attack on women and mothers.
Most women I know would have had to pay unfathomable costs out of pocket for simply becoming mothers, or for having complicated pregnancies, from suffering from postpartum depression–or would have been denied the care they need because someone else made the choice to rape them or abuse them. I have been sexually assaulted (and every 98 seconds, someone in the U.S. is assaulted, so clearly, it’s a lot of people), my sister was physically abused by her male partner. Why should we, and the countless other girls and women abused, be denied coverage or medical attention?
This also means that companies can deny coverage for preventive care like gynecological services, mammograms, and routine exams as a result of sexual and domestic violence, and women who become pregnant and seek prenatal treatment. And yet, Trump doesn’t seem to think there’s anything wrong (which is even scarier):
…healthcare plan is on its way. Will have much lower premiums & deductibles while at the same time taking care of pre-existing conditions!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 30, 2017
Going back to the pre-ACA era is bad news. Before the ACA existed, rape survivors who sought treatment could be denied health care later on, as Raw Story reported–whereas the ACA mandated coverage for all pre-existing conditions including sexual assault. Some children, too, like Jimmy Kimmel’s new son, are born with pre-existing conditions. In the pre-ACA era, such families would reach their lifetime limit right away, and have to pay astronomical fees out of pocket.
The new amendment, called the MacArthur-Meadows Amendment, will allow states to discriminate based on medical history, but worse, it doesn’t actually seek to anything about the resulting high cost of health care for millions of people, according to NBC.
But, it extends to other issues too, of course, like cancer, mental health, and more:
— Steven Rattner (@SteveRattner) May 4, 2017
— Steven Rattner (@SteveRattner) May 3, 2017
As stated by NBC:
“AARP, the advocacy group that represents seniors, warned that the Upton amendment “would do little to mitigate the massive premium increase for some of the most vulnerable Americans” which they estimated could spike premiums by as much as $25,000 for those who run afoul of the pre-existing conditions clause.
It cuts Medicaid, which was expanded under Obamacare, by $839 billion over a decade, changes the program’s structure, and uses the savings to do away with taxes on wealthier Americans and medical industries that were used to pay for the ACA.”
In a statement condemning the bill, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi explained how rushing the vote is a red herring:
“Forcing a vote without a CBO[Congressional Budget Office] score shows that Republicans are terrified of the public learning the full consequences of their plan to push Americans with pre-existing conditions into the cold. But tomorrow, House Republicans are going to tattoo this moral monstrosity to their foreheads, and the American people will hold them accountable.”
Let’s not forget that our president has defended Bill O’Reilly, and has been accused of sexual assault and harassment, for starters. Is this the kind of person who is actually going to advocate for women?