Senate Health Bill a ‘Futile Attempt to Put Lipstick on a Pig,’ Ness Says

Statement of Debra L. Ness, President, National Partnership for Women & Families

“Despite promises to improve upon the disastrous House-passed American Health Care Act (AHCA), the Senate health care bill released today falls woefully short of the coverage expansions, women’s health advances and consumer protections the Affordable Care Act (ACA) delivered. This is nothing more than a futile attempt to put lipstick on a pig. The Senate bill, which mirrors the House version, would still strip health coverage from millions, drive up costs, cut critical protections, gut Medicaid, defund Planned Parenthood, expand harmful abortion coverage restrictions and ultimately endanger women’s health and economic security – in order to deliver tax cuts to the wealthy.

By allowing states broad waiver authority over the current rules for health coverage, insurance companies may once again be able to determine what kind of care they want to cover. States may even be able to strip away essential health benefits (EHB) protections, which could make it impossible for millions of people with pre-existing conditions to find affordable coverage for the crucial care they need.

If states can waive the EHB requirements, millions of women could be left without the coverage they need or forced to pay more for plans that include the coverage of critical services, such as maternity care, prescription drugs and mental health services – taking us back to the days when women had to pay more than men for health coverage. The Congressional Budget Office has previously estimated that maternity coverage would cost an additional $1,000 per month under this type of proposal. Once again, millions of families will struggle to find meaningful health care coverage they can afford.

It is outrageous that Republicans leaders held secret negotiations without talking to the women and families who this bill would affect, and are now trying to rush through their ACA repeal bill in an attempt to avoid public scrutiny and pushback. We will not be fooled by their lies, and neither will the constituents that members of Congress will have to face in their home states and districts.

America’s women and families deserve much better. The Senate should reject this bill and instead focus on creating legislation that improves women’s health by strengthening and expanding access to affordable, comprehensive coverage and robust protections for everyone.”

About the National Partnership

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

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