May 4, 2017 – By a narrow margin of 217-213, the U.S. House of Representatives today passed the so-called American Health Care Act, a measure which dismantles the Affordable Care Act and pushes health care out of reach for millions of people. The measure—which has been widely denounced by leading health care organizations and experts– would decimate access to reproductive health care by barring people who get their health insurance from Medicaid from receiving their care from Planned Parenthood, eliminating guaranteed coverage of maternal care and other essential benefits, and expanding restrictions on private insurance coverage of abortion care.
The bill would also slash Medicaid–threatening coverage for millions of low-income women–and eliminate guaranteed coverage for those with a pre-existing condition.
Said Nancy Northup, president and CEO of the Center for Reproductive Rights:
“Repealing the Affordable Care Act will reverse one of the most important advancements for women’s health in decades, leaving millions without any health care coverage. It will create chaos in our health care system and decimate access to health care.
“Trump’s plan is dangerous for women’s health and our ability to make decisions about our futures and our families. From gutting maternity coverage to blocking women from getting health care at Planned Parenthood to eliminating guaranteed coverage for those with pre-existing conditions, the measure passed today will drive health care out of reach for millions.
“We call upon the Senate to reject this cruel and discriminatory measure outright.”
The bill now heads to the Senate.
The Affordable Care Act (ACA), also known as Obamacare, stands as one of the most important legislative advancements for women’s health in decades. Under the ACA, over 55 million women have gained guaranteed coverage of preventive services without co-pays, including birth control. In 2016, 6.8 million women and girls enrolled in marketplace health plans, many of them using tax credits and subsidies to make the comprehensive coverage affordable.
On the other hand, the American Health Care Act advanced today will significantly, and disproportionately, harm women and their families. The bill prohibits low-income patients with Medicaid coverage from receiving health care at Planned Parenthood health centers, blocking millions of Americans from accessing basic health care services like birth control and life-saving cancer screenings. It would slash Essential Health Benefits, eliminating the guarantee that essential services like maternity care be covered by all plans. It also imposes work requirements on Medicaid recipients, allowing states to force new mothers on Medicaid to find work as soon as 60 days after giving birth. Additionally, it attempts to withhold abortion coverage from virtually all women in the U.S., including those enrolled in private insurance, and to place restrictions on private health insurance companies willing to offer the full range of reproductive health care services.
The Center for Reproductive Rights recently laid out how the American Health Care Act would harm women and their families in a piece for The Hill.