Tuesday, the Senate voted to move forward with the debate on repealing the Affordable Care Act. The motion to proceed was narrowly passed when Vice President Mike Pence cast the tie-breaking ballot in favor of the move. And while the actual bill to replace and repeal Obamacare has yet to be fully revealed, all of its predecessors have been dangerous and impractical, to say the least. Nevertheless, the members of Congress — which is predominantly male and white — have made it their priority to strip healthcare away from millions anyway, including important protections for women and mothers. But let's just pretend what it would be like it every congressman and senator got pregnant tomorrow; What might happen then?
Here's what would happen: the bill would be dead on arrival.
The now-infamous MacArthur Amendment practically made being a woman a pre-existing condition (OK, not technically, but whatever, you get it), and much of the recent health care debate has been predominantly focused on the dollar signs and costs, rather than the people themselves. But, the fact of the matter is, that if every single man in Congress understood what it was like to be a woman, then practical care, such as NICU costs and C-section procedures, likely wouldn't be such an issue.
Of course, one of the most hypocritical details about all the Republican attempts to repeal the ACA is that drafts of those bills all still made sure that the legislators' coverage remained intact. So hypothetically, if all the men in Congress were to suddenly find themselves pregnant tomorrow, they could arguably just opt themselves out of all the changes and be totally covered, but one can still dream.
Without further ado, and barring any hypothetical opt-out scenarios, here's what it might look like if everyone on the Hill got pregnant tomorrow, and not just the women.
The MacArthur Amendment Would Be Completely Dismissed
Let's get real here for a second, if those men who so callously waved off rape and sexual assault, as well as C-sections, as pre-existing conditions suddenly needed care for giving birth? Yeah, they'd be whistlin' a different tune. No doubt about that.
Lifetime Caps Would Remain Banned
Another big issue for Republicans as they fight to repeal and replace Obamacare is lifetime cap mandates. Before Obamacare, insurance companies were able to put a limit on how much they would cover for a person's health care costs, usually capping out at around $1 million. But for babies held in the NICU, those caps could be reached in mere days. So, the ACA did away with lifetime caps, saving thousands of lives. But, now, the GOP wants to bring them back.
Of course, that would all change if Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell were to walk into the Capitol tomorrow morning with a bump to call his own. Odds are, if that were to happen, lifetime caps would be a thing of the past, and NICU care would be mandatory for all insurance companies.
Maternity Care Would Be A Given
Imagine what it might look like if Paul Ryan waltzed into the hallowed halls of the U.S. Capitol tomorrow morning, hand on his lower back as he yelled out that maternity care should be affordable and accessible to everyone, no matter what.
Can't you just picture it? Pregnant lawmakers would get sh*t done, and they would not even discuss letting insurance companies opt out of maternity care, because taking away someone's medical coverage when they're constantly in pain, irritated, or generally exhausted and need a doctor to fix it is just cruel. Right?
Planned Parenthood Would Continue To Receive Funding
One of the Republican's major points of interest regarding disassembling the current health care legislation is Planned Parenthood. Even though Congress is well aware that no federal funding is used for abortions, except in cases of rape, incest, or if the mother's life is in danger, and that Planned Parenthood provides pregnant women and mothers with more health services than just abortion procedures, the larger part of the Republican base in Washington wants it kicked out of the ACA loop anyway (not everyone is of that opinion in the GOP, but still).
However, perhaps an unplanned pregnancy would help show Ted Cruz or any other detractor just how much women actually do need proper access to health care, and that, again, Planned Parenthood provides a plethora of necessary services to women for low costs, and not just abortion procedures. Got that, Ted?
There Would Be No Cuts To Medicaid
As Vox reports, Medicaid "pays for half of all births, including two-thirds of unplanned births. Three-quarters of the public dollars spent on family planning are Medicaid dollars." So, probably, if some good ol' GOP men were to show up to work tomorrow with an odd craving for a turkey-peanut butter sandwich or poorly-timed morning sickness, they might reconsider heartlessly cutting Medicaid, even if it didn't affect them personally. Maybe.
You know, maybe they just need to learn the hard way that not everyone is as privileged and fortunate as they are. (Although a pregnant Sean Duffy or Roy Blunt isn't really something anyone is dying to see.) Either way, here's hoping they'll actually start listening to pregnant women, moms, and just women in general the next time they decide to put together health care legislation.
Just a thought.