National Partnership for Women & Families

House Passage of the American Health Care Act a ‘Callous Move That Imperils Women’s Health and Economic Security,’ Ness Says, Noting That ‘Trump’s Best Day So Far Is America’s Worst’

Statement of Debra L. Ness, President, National Partnership for Women & Families
WASHINGTON, D.C. — May 4, 2017 —

“In a callous move that imperils women’s health and economic security, the House of Representatives today passed the American Health Care Act (AHCA), an atrocious and damaging bill that would strip health coverage from 24 million people, raise health care costs for millions more, gut Medicaid and deny millions of people access to preventive and potentially life-saving care at Planned Parenthood health centers. President Trump’s best day in office so far is America’s worst. His victory is our loss – a loss for women and families, for people with pre-existing conditions, for those who need maternity and mental health care and prescription drug coverage, for people who rely on Medicaid, and for the millions who rely on Planned Parenthood for cancer screenings, birth control and preventive care.

Since the bill was withdrawn in March, House Republicans have made it even worse by allowing states to eliminate guaranteed coverage of essential health benefits (EHB) like maternity and newborn care, prescription drugs and mental health care. Stripping away EHB coverage would leave many women without the coverage they need or force women to pay more for plans that include the coverage of critical services, such as maternity care – taking us back to the days when women had to pay more than men for health coverage.

Despite promises by President Trump and leaders in Congress to protect health coverage for those with pre-existing conditions, this bill would do the opposite by allowing insurance companies to charge people higher premiums based on their medical history – a provision that would be particularly damaging for women. And in an eleventh-hour effort to pass the already harmful AHCA, House Republicans added another deceptive, detrimental amendment that could fool people into thinking that as many as 15 million people who have pre-existing conditions will still have affordable coverage. If this bill becomes law, we will return to a time when many more women and families struggled to find affordable health care coverage that meets their needs.

This bill also defunds Planned Parenthood health centers, denying 2.5 million people access to essential preventive health such as birth control. Combined with the Trump executive order to rollback women’s birth control coverage, this is a two-fold attack on women’s reproductive health and economic security.

By voting for this bill, House Republicans ignored overwhelming public support for the Affordable Care Act (ACA) as well as opposition to eliminating important protections guaranteed by the law. They have made it clear that scoring political points is more important to them than protecting the health, well-being and economic security of our nation’s women and families.

We urge the Senate to reject this callous bill and instead strengthen the ACA so more women and families will have the coverage they need, which is key to the country’s economic strength.”

The National Partnership for Women & Families is a nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy group dedicated to promoting fairness in the workplace, access to quality health care and policies that help women and men meet the dual demands of work and family. More information is available at www.NationalPartnership.org.

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