Wednesday, 23 August 2017

The Health Care Bill’s Insults to Women – New York Times


SLASHES MEDICAID By cutting $880 million from Medicaid over 10 years, the House bill removes a crucial source of coverage for many women’s health services. Almost half of all births in the country, and 75 percent of publicly funded family planning services, are covered by Medicaid. Slashing Medicaid funds would be especially harmful to black and Latina women, who are more likely than white women to be insured through Medicaid.

ELIMINATES PRE-EXISTING CONDITION PROTECTIONS The bill allows states to waive the requirement that insurers cover people with pre-existing conditions without charging higher premiums. While it’s not yet clear how insurers would respond, many of the conditions that prompted insurers to deny coverage or raise premiums before the requirement was in place, including depression, lupus and multiple sclerosis, are more common in women. Some insurers also denied coverage or charged higher premiums to women who had given birth by C-section.

ENDANGERS ABORTION COVERAGE The bill bars anyone from using federal subsidies to buy insurance that covers abortion. It also bars small employers from using tax credits to pay for plans that cover abortion for their employees. The likely result: Most insurers would drop abortion coverage, and the few plans that did cover abortion would become prohibitively expensive.

The bill now goes to the Senate, where the majority leader, Mitch McConnell, initially convened a health care working group composed of 13 men and no women. Following widespread criticism, the group invited Senator Shelley Moore Capito, Republican of West Virginia, to a meeting, but it is unclear whether she will become a regular member.

Meanwhile, Senator Susan Collins, Republican of Maine, is at work on her own health care plan. She and Senator Lisa Murkowski, Republican of Alaska have opposed efforts to strip funding from Planned Parenthood. Senators from states like Ohio that took the Medicaid expansion have also expressed reservations about the A.H.C.A.’s cuts to that program. Republican moderates will have a crucial role to play in the coming months, as the Senate decides what, if any, provisions of the House bill it will keep. It will be up to them to make sure women’s health is not treated as a joke.

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