On Thursday, the House voted to repeal the Affordable Care Act and implement the Republican health care replacement plan. The bill that passed on Thursday is exactly the same as the American Health Care Act — dubbed "Trumpcare" — which originally failed when House Speaker Paul Ryan had to pull the bill before it could get a vote in March. Despite the addition of two amendments to the original American Health Care Act, the bill is effectively the same terrible health care replacement plan that targeted a number of vulnerable patient populations. Here are four ways the new Trumpcare bill specifically targets mothers, thanks to those new amendments.
The GOP's first attempt to repeal and replace Obamacare failed because both Ryan and President Trump couldn't get the backing of the Freedom Caucus, a group of House members who typically align with the Tea Party movement. That's when New Jersey Rep. Tom MacArthur added language to the AHCA that would allow individual states to opt out of the "essential benefits" provision with the MacArthur Amendment. The MacArthur Amendment managed to make the AHCA even worse than it was first written, because essential benefits help mothers tremendously by mandating standards of coverage and care. Here's a look at the specifics of how Trumpcare hurts moms as the bill heads to the Senate for a vote.
Trumpcare Targets Maternity Coverage
One of the 10 essential benefits included in the Affordable Care Act is maternity care, including both care for pregnancy and newborns. If Trumpcare becomes law (the bill must still pass the Senate) and your state waives the essential benefits mandate, pregnancy will cost women more — a lot more, according to the Center for American Progress. Pregnancy could cost 425 percent more under Trumpcare than it does now under the ACA.
Also, before the ACA, pregnancy was considered a pre-existing condition. As such, prior to the Affordable Care Act, health insurance companies were also well within the law to raise premiums for pregnant women, or to make women purchase expensive "pregnancy riders." Even though the MacArthur Amendment protects pre-existing condition coverage — in that women can't be denied insurance for being pregnant — there's no legislative language telling insurance carriers they can't charge pregnant women more.
Trumpcare Targets Mental Health Coverage
Another of Obamacare's essential benefits is mental health and substance use services, which includes everything from counseling, addiction treatment, and other psychotherapy. This is especially important for mothers immediately after giving birth, because one in nine women experience postpartum depression, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The Affordable Care Act also mandated coverage for PPD screenings and treatment services. With the ACA repealed, this vital PPD treatment coverage provision would become unavailable to mothers.
Trumpcare Targets Pediatric Services
When Trumpcare targets kids, it simultaneously targets their parents and caregivers. The 10th essential benefit provided by the ACA is coverage for pediatric services, specifically dental and vision coverage. Untreated tooth decay in children can affect everything from speaking and eating, to contributing to increased school absences and lower grades, according to the CDC.
Trumpcare Targets Moms On Medicaid
While there's been much attention given to the MacArthur Amendment, the Manager's Amendment was introduced by Speaker Ryan during the AHCA's first go-round — and it specifically targets low-income mothers on Medicaid. The Manager's Amendment states that mothers on Medicaid must find a job within 60 days of giving birth, or risk losing their Medicaid coverage altogether.
As the House voted to repeal the ACA on Thursday, it's still apparent that Trumpcare is just bad health care policy, and it's especially bad for moms. The AHCA now heads to the Senate for a full vote.