Eager for a win after March’s disastrous defeat, Republicans are trying to push this bill through even though the Congressional Budget Office has yet to review it, the American Medical Association and 10 other health organizations have come out against it, and the original bill was estimated to leave more than 24 million Americans without health insurance over the next decade.
If this bill passes the House and the Senate (where it still faces tough opposition), it’s undeniable that women will be the ones who stand to lose the most. Under Trump’s new healthcare system, states could seek a waiver to deny women basic services such as prenatal care, maternity care, and mammograms. And if you’re thinking states won’t be as cruel as to opt out of providing pregnant women with basic health benefits, know that before the Affordable Care Act passed in 2010, 88 percent of insurance plans denied coverage of basic maternity care.
As for that new amendment, which allows insurers to charge more for people with preexisting conditions, apparently things like rape, postpartum depression, domestic abuse, and C-sections all fall under that umbrella, too. When the American Health Care Act tried to pass the House in March, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi put it this way: “[Eliminating] essential health benefits means Republicans are making being a woman a preexisting condition,” she said. “Stripping guaranteed maternity care is a pregnancy tax, pure and simple.”
Sadly, it comes as little surprise that the new Republican health care bill would include mandates that essentially discriminate toward one gender. After all, who can forget the photo Vice President Mike Pence shared on Twitter back in March, which featured a roomful of only men deciding the fate of health care for both male and female Americans. Between this punishing proposed legislation and the conviction, yesterday, of a woman who laughed during Jeff Sessions’s senate hearing, all those comparisons to Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Talesuddenly aren’t feeling so far off.
PATRICIA GARCIA at http://www.vogue.com