President Donald Trump wished “all of the great mothers out there” a Happy Mother’s Day on Sunday, but voters from across the nation responded harshly to what they considered a hollow message from the Republican president who has proved repeatedly, both in word and in deed, that he is no friend to women’s health and well-being.
With an emphasis on the Trumpcare plan now being crafted by the president and his GOP allies in the House and Senate that would, if passed into law, decimate healthcare options and access for women, the president and other GOP leaders were on the receiving end of scorn for what many take to be their callous indifference, ignorance, hypocrisy, or some combination of the three.
“Want to support women & mothers?” tweeted the Planned Parenthood Action Fund of New York City. “Give them access to healthcare they need to lead the lives they want.
#TrumpCare doesn’t care.”
Statistics show that Medicaid currently covers approximately 40 percent of pregnancies in the United States, but the bill passed last month by the House—officially called the American Health Care Act (AHCA) but derisively referred to as Trumpcare—would cut back Medicaid spending by $800 billion.
I wonder how many GOPs who voted #trumpcare will wish their moms Happy Mothers Day while their vote said, hey your healthcare means nothing.
— FrugalistaBlog (@frugieblog) May 13, 2017
If your Rep has a #MothersDay message & voted for Trumpcare, remind them they made a c-section a pre-existing condition. Don’t let them off.
— David Lebo (@leboism) May 14, 2017
— CenterforReproRights (@ReproRights) May 13, 2017
Such messages were emblematic of countless others, some of which targeted Trump and others that took on other Republican lawmakers, including Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-Wis.):
— Molly Cain (@mollicus) May 14, 2017
This short video, produced by MoveOn.org, was being passed around on social media as a way to highlight the cruelty represented by a Republican plan that would offer a huge tax cut to millionaires and billionaires while cutting off essential healthcare services and diminish access for women:
— Shannon Fitzgerald (@shannonmakestv) May 14, 2017
Many critics have pointed out that the law Republicans are pushing should be called a “wealthcare” plan as opposed to a “healthcare” plan. “It’s a wealth grab for the already wealthy,” explained political columnist Richard Eskow earlier this year. “Its benefits will go, first and foremost, to billionaires who make more money from investments than from work. The 400 highest-earning households in the country will get an average tax break of $7 million per year under the Republican plan.”
And while the legislative working group now in charge of the GOP’s plan is comprised of thirteen men, and not a single women, the negative impacts of the law on mothers, and the female population overall, would be severe.
As McClatchy reports:
Under the GOP plan that narrowly passed the House of Representatives, funding for Medicaid, which pays for about half of U.S. births, would be slashed. Women with individual insurance in some states could lose guaranteed coverage of maternity and newborn care. States could also terminate mandatory coverage of mental health services, like counseling for depression, which hits women at a higher rate than men.
Even coverage for prescription drugs, which women also utilize more than men, could lose its designation as an essential health benefit under the House bill.
In a recent exchange with constituents, Rep. Scott Perry (R-Pa.) explained that as a man he should not be forced to pay for—either through his taxes that support programs like Medicaid or through a broader pool of insurance holders that include women—the maternity of care of others now that he and his wife have decided to not have any more children. Perry stirred the anger of many by invoking the concept of “personal respionsibility” and then equating the necessity of quality maternity care with the desire by some to own luxury automobiles.
“Some people never want to start a family,” Perry said. “Some people don’t want to own a Cadillac. But should we want to make everybody pay for a Cadillac?” Readers can watch the full exchange here, but it did not go over well with those in attendance.
In addition to maternal and reproductive care, many women are voicing concern because they are mothers of children with illnesses or who otherwise depend on consistent and affordable coverage. As CNN reported recently, a number of such mothers have now livestreamed visits to their elected representative’s office as they sought explanation for votes in favor of the AHCA. One video in particular, featuring mother Julie Anderson in North Carolina, went viral earlier this month after it shower her being thrown out of Rep. Patrick McHenry’s office while holding her sick child, Loretta, on her hip. According to CNN:
As Anderson walks out of the building and buckles her 4-year-old into her car seat, she explains on Facebook Live that before Obamacare, her family had been turned down for insurance. She says through tears that she feels McHenry has made the “child uninsurable for something that’s not her fault.”
Loretta has a liver problem requiring stem cell treatments, according to WCCB, and it requires expensive ongoing treatment. Even with insurance, Anderson spends $12,000 out of pocket each year on her child’s medication, plus co-pays and other treatment costs. If the Republican bill were to become law, the price of her health care could go up dramatically.
“If Loretta doesn’t have her medication, she will die,” Anderson explains on Facebook. The family is already making a large sacrifice to pay the bills: Her husband, who is in the military, volunteered for another deployment “to go to war so our kids could live,” she says. “It’s not how this country should be. That’s not right.”
Meanwhile, when it comes to the relationship between mother and daughters of different generations, and potentially divergent political views, this tweet stood out as a relevant for the kind of backlash the GOP might face if they succeed in pushing through this legislation:
Best Mothers Day ever: after explaining to my conservative mom how #trumpcare would harm me, she asked how she could write her Senators
— tannerglass (@tannerglass) May 14, 2017
And as for the broader anger and charges of cruel hypocrisy directed at Trump, House Speaker Ryan, and the other Republican backers of the Trumpcare effort, there was no end in sight: