It's no secret that health care in the United States is both imperfect and yet somehow still controversial. While President Donald Trump ran much of his campaign on the promise that he would get rid of the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, he has yet to make good on that promise, despite many attempts. Now, Congressional Republicans' third attempt is up for debate, and, if passed, could prove extremely dangerous. Yeah, there's actually a lot of ways Trumpcare 3.0 could hurt moms, and none of them are ideal.
This hasn't exactly been an easy legislative season for Trump, despite having a Republican-controlled House and Senate. First, there was the American Health Care Act, which failed to pass back in March. Then, the Better Care Reconciliation Act was formed, but it quickly died in July. Now, a new bill, co-sponsored by Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Republican Sen. Bill Cassidy of Louisiana could be passed, and if it is, millions of Americans would be at risk of losing vital health care.
Especially at risk, it seems, are women. Of course, this isn't really too surprising as both the AHCA and BCRA unfairly targeted women, but it's still important to take note of all the ways the Graham-Cassidy bill could negatively impact the lives of women, and especially, of mothers.
Here are five ways Trumpcare 3.0 would hurt moms should it become a reality:
Pregnancy Would Become Extremely Expensive
Graham-Cassidy would do a lot of things to undo Obamacare's legacy of care for all. But perhaps one of the more notable consequences of the bill is that it does away with protections for pre-existing conditions, as NPR reported. Basically, before the ACA, health insurance companies could deny or raise the cost of coverage for someone with more health issues or with so-called pre-existing conditions. Obamacare changed that, prohibiting companies from doing so.
Graham-Cassidy, though, would allow companies to go back to that practice, as NPR reported. And, unfortunately, pregnancy is considered to be a pre-existing condition by many insurance companies. So, as the Center for American Progress noted in a study of the bill, the cost of a pregnancy would rise exponentially under Graham-Cassidy. "Coverage could become prohibitively expensive for those in dire need of care," the organization concluded. "Insurers would charge about $17,320 more in premiums for pregnancy." Yeah, that's a lot of money.
Birth Control Would Be Even Harder To Acquire
In addition to doing away with protections for pre-existing conditions, Graham-Cassidy would also cut funding for Medicaid, which is how millions of Americans receive health care. In fact, "74,424,652 individuals were enrolled in Medicaid and CHIP in the 51 states reporting June 2017 data," according to Medicaid.gov.
And, as Planned Parenthood noted, about one in five women use Medicaid in order to receive reproductive health care. And, as The Atlantic noted, this could result in the end of Planned Parenthood centers everywhere:
That means birth control might no longer be free for women who buy their health insurance on the individual market. Women on Medicaid would not be able to use their Medicaid plans to visit Planned Parenthood clinics for birth control and other services for one year, potentially resulting in the closure of Planned Parenthood clinics.
So, moms who are in the midst of planning their families, are done having children, or you know, women who just don't want to get pregnant anytime soon, might not be able to get birth control. This would, undoubtedly, result in a higher level of unplanned pregnancies, and create even more complications for women and moms.
Maternity Care Would Become Much Less Accessible
Another Obamacare mandate that Graham-Cassidy attempts to do away with are the 10 essential health benefits laid out in the 2010 legislation, as NPR reported. Those health benefits include:
- Ambulatory patient services
- Emergency services
- Maternity and newborn care
- Mental health and substance use disorder services, including behavioral health treatment
- Prescription drugs
- Rehabilitative and habilitative services and devices
- Laboratory services
- Preventive and wellness services and chronic disease management
- Pediatric services, including oral and vision care
Graham-Cassidy, though, would allow states "to apply for waivers that could change what qualifies as an essential health benefit." So, if a state applies for a waiver to not cover maternity care, costs would skyrocket. Alina Salganicoff, the director of women’s health policy at the Kaiser Family Foundation, told The Atlantic:
For pregnant women, there are a lot of screening services that are covered as part of preventive services — anemia screening, breastfeeding-support services, depression screening, folic acid, screening for gestational diabetes. All of those are covered without cost sharing. If a state chooses, that could also go away in the individual insurance market.
Parents Of Children With Disabilities Would Also Be At Risk
As Jimmy Kimmel pointed out on his show, the Graham-Cassidy bill would do very little to protect Americans with serious health issues. And truly, while Graham-Cassidy might not technically do away with Obamacare's ban on lifetime caps, by not providing care for those with pre-existing conditions, it is still putting many at risk. Especially parents of children with any birth defects or disabilities, something Kimmel knows all too well as his own son had to undergo open-heart surgery back in May. And he let his opinions be heard, echoing the sentiments of many parents out there:
Am I not understanding the part where states would be allowed to let insurance companies price you out of coverage for having preexisting conditions? Maybe I don’t understand the part of your bill in which federal spending disappears completely after 2026? Or maybe it was the part where plans are no longer required to pay for essential benefits, like maternity care or pediatric visits?
All Mom's Rates Could Rise, Just Because They're Moms
As has already been stated, Graham-Cassidy would give states the right to determine what is a pre-existing condition and to charge people more for them. So, a woman in perfect health who had already had kids could still pay more for insurance, even if she doesn't plan on having any more children. According to The Atlantic:
Women who deliver via C-section or who have even simply been pregnant in the past might face higher insurance rates for life. Graham-Cassidy would allow insurers to once again charge people different amounts based on their preexisting conditions, which can include things like pregnancy or depression.
So, yeah. The Graham-Cassidy bill is not a balanced, fair, or appropriate replacement for Obamacare. With just these five ways, it's clear that it very unfairly targets women and mothers, just for being women and mothers.
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