One of Trump's most often repeated promises to his rally crowds during the campaign was that, if elected, he would "repeal and replace" Obamacare, officially called the Affordable Care Act, and President Obama's signature legislative achievement. One of the central pieces of Obamacare was a guarantee for many services, like maternity services, specifically for women, that would be covered under a basic plan. If those provisions are repealed, as the President-elect has promised, women could pay more for insurance under Trump just for being women.
It's something the National Women's Law Center calls "insurance companies treating women like a pre-existing condition," in a study it conducted in 2009, just before Obamacare took effect.
The NWLC found that, in 2009, 25-year-old women were being charged up to 84 percent more than their male counterparts, and that's for plans that didn't cover maternity care. Insurance companies, prior to Obamacare, were free to set prices however they saw fit, and women got hit with far higher premiums as a result.
Then, in 2010, Obamacare was passed and maternity coverage was included under the legislation's "10 essential health benefits" along with pregnancy and newborn care, according to Healthcare.gov. In addition, all FDA-approved contraceptive methods, from diaphragms and sponges to IUDs and Plan B, had to be covered under all insurance plans, without a co-pay, according to Healthcare.gov.
"Our concern is going back to a world where insurance companies are writing their own rules again, and returning women to those bad old days in health care and losing all the progress we’ve made,” Gretchen Borchelt, vice president for reproductive rights and health at the law center, told Kaiser Health News.
On Tuesday, Trump doubled down again on his promise to get rid of Obamacare by nominating Georgia Rep. Tom Price to head the Department of Human Services, one of the legislation's harshest critics in Congress. In Trump's announcement about Price he said, according to the Washington Post, "...(he is) exceptionally qualified to shepherd our commitment to repeal and replace Obamacare and bring affordable and accessible health care to every American.”
The looming changes have gotten the attention of American women, who, after the election, sent the Google search terms "IUD," "birth control," and "Planned Parenthood" skyrocketing, according to NPR. Women also took to social media to post messages like this:
OB-GYN and women's rights advocate Dr. Jen Gunter wrote on her blog about the response she got when she asked several OB-GYNs if they've seen an actual spike in interest in IUDs after the election or if it was all just social media hype.
"Oh my God, yes," was the answer, she said. And it's a fear Dr. Gunter said is well founded:
Yes, it is highly likely in his first weeks of Presidency Trump will try to do away with the contraception mandate. Some insurances will keep contraception covered and others will not. Many women will be left with hefty bills for IUDs. If the Department of Health and Human Services doesn’t get its act together it will be relatively easy for Trump to defund Planned Parenthood.
And no, that is not where the assault on reproductive rights will stop.
These women who are calling their OB/GYNs have every right to be worried.
So, yes, every indication is that it's about to get more expensive to be a lady in Trump's America if parts of Obamacare are repealed or replaced. Is that what he meant by making it "great" again?